The Delhi High Court on Monday declined to put on hold the Centre’s decision to dismiss Satish Chandra Verma, a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, a month before his retirement. Mr. Verma had assisted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its probe in the Ishrat Jahan ‘fake encounter’ case.
Mr. Verma’s dismissal came on August 30, a month before he was due to retire on September 30. A departmental enquiry had found him guilty of charges, including “interacting with public media” without authorisation or permission from the competent authority.
A Bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Tushar Rao Gedela, however, asked the Centre to submit its reply within eight weeks to Mr. Verma’s plea challenging his dismissal.
“We have perused the contents of the transcript of the interview that has been placed on record as also the enquiry report,” the Bench said.
“We are of the view that at this stage, the order of termination dated August 30, 2022 does not warrant any interference as the petitioner [Mr. Verma] is to superannuate, in any event, on September 30, 2022. Consequently, we are not inclined to stay or interdict the order of dismissal dated August 30, 2022 at this stage,” the Bench said.
The High Court clarified that in case Mr. Verma is successful in his petition, he will be entitled to all consequential benefits of his superannuation in accordance with the rules. It has posted the case for further hearing on January 24, 2023.
On September 19, the Supreme Court had directed that the Centre’s order dismissing Mr. Verma be kept in abeyance for a week. The top court, meanwhile, gave Mr. Verma liberty to approach the Delhi High Court.
Mr. Verma had probed the high profile Ishrat Jahan case of 2004 between April 2010 and October 2011. Jahan, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others, were allegedly killed in the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The deceased were termed Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who were accused of having plotted to kill the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Based on Mr. Verma’s investigation report, a Special Investigation Team had concluded that the encounter was “fake”.