New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine a plea challenging the appointment of 1982 batch IAS officer SR Mohanty as chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh, on grounds that he was allegedly involved in a corruption case pertaining to state industrial development corporation.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjiv Khanna issued a notice to the Centre and sought its reply in six weeks.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for petitioner Manohar Dalal, said that the present case demonstrates a glaring abuse of power by Mohanty. He also pointed out that abuse of power gets established by the fact that Director General (DG) of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) who was probing the corruption case against him was removed on 2 January, immediately after Mohanty took charge as chief secretary on 31 December, 2018.
Singh said the DG of EOW was appointed only six months before that but was replaced.
The petitioner had sought directions for quashing Mohanty's appointment and a fresh departmental inquiry against him.
Dalal also sought transfer of the case registered by EOW against Mohanty to CBI for further investigation. He sought that a fresh departmental inquiry be held under the supervision of a retired judge of the apex court or the high court.
The petitioner, a practising advocate in the Madhya pradesh High Court, said that Mohanty is also required to be shifted from the critical and important post of Chief Secretary as was done in the corruption case against Neera Yadav, who was chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh. "During his tenure as the Managing Director of MPSIDC from 2000-2004, SR Mohanty disbursed loans in violation of the decisions of the state government and contrary to Article of Association of MPSIDC," the plea said.
It added that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its 2003 report had pointed out that MPSIDC which was under Mohanty, illegally disbursed financial assistance without the approval of the state government and contrary to the provisions of Article of Association.
Referring to a report by Raghav Chandra, who was the successor to Mohanty in the MPSIDC, the plea said that he had pointed out that Mohanty disbursed Rs 91.57 crore to 18 borrowers, of which some were fake companies. The state government then sent a report to the state EOW which on detailed inquiry registered FIR in 2004 against 84 persons including Mohanty for abusing his official position by conniving with private companies and had caused loss to the state government.
"Despite serious corruption case pending against SR Mohanty, the newly elected state government, which came back into power after 15 years, appointed him as the chief secretary of the state of Madhya Pradesh on 31 December, 2018," it said.
It said that before the appointment of Mohanty as chief secretary, the state government had completed the departmental inquiry, pending against him for 11 years, within one week and exonerated him of all charges.
"The entire inquiry was a farce and concluded post haste only to exonerate SR Mohanty, so that he can be appointed as Chief Secretary," it said, adding that immediately after being appointed Mohanty on 2 January, transferred the Madhu Kumar as DG of EOW and replaced him with a new officer.
"The state government has decided that through newly appointed director general of EOW, it would withdraw the corruption charges against SR Mohanty pending before the competent court," the plea said.
It further said that the state government has also decided to withdraw a case against Mohanty pending in the apex court. "The closure of such a serious corruption case against senior official would also amount to a miscarriage of justice, who abused his official position and caused loss to the state exchequer", it said.
Updated Date: Feb 15, 2019 17:49:32 IST