Slap on government’s face as CAT sets aside transfer

Additional Director-General of Police R.P. Sharma inaugurating the BMTF’s online complaints facility at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike headquarters in July this year. File Photo: K. Gopinathan  

In a major setback to the State government, the Bangalore Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Friday has not only quashed the government order transferring Additional Director-General of Police R.P. Sharma as the head of Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) but has also directed he be allowed to complete his two-year term in the post. Moreover, the CAT advised the Chief Secretary to extend all manpower and other assistance to the BMTF to speedily prosecute all erring officials of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in public interest, and replacing all officials facing criminal charges.

Laudatory references

The tribunal suggested to the government that Dr. Sharma’s term in the same post be continued if necessary while pointing out that the BMTF in 2012 [after ADGP Sharma took charge] was galvanised into action, registering some 180 cases in just nine months as against “only 32 cases registered in its 16 years of lethargy and inertia since it was established in 1996”.

While allowing Dr. Sharma’s application challenging his transfer order, K.B. Suresh, Judicial Member of the CAT, in his verdict proposed that Dr. Sharma immediately start investigating violations in respect of all BBMP employees concerned so that the guilty are brought to book. The ADGP should also issue weekly statements to the public so that a comfort level is achieved for the law-abiding and a warning for future transgressors.

The tribunal advised Dr. Sharma to form a prosecuting team; remember that a sacred duty is placed on his shoulders and law-abiding citizens of Bangalore depend on it; and that the so-called colluders might be victims of compulsion but not the officials, who gained money or influence by looking the other way.

Rubbishes claim

The tribunal threw out the government’s claim that Dr. Sharma’s transfer was to facilitate a fair inquiry against him as there was an allegation he was constructing a house at Doddagubbi village on the city’s outskirts without obtaining building plan sanctioned from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

On verification of the Master Plan and other documents, the CAT has found Dr. Sharma had got permission from none other than the Chief Secretary in 2010.

The CAT also found that documents, including sanction order for construction, blueprint, estimate expenses, bank’s consent letter and the like were submitted before the Chief Secretary and the lender bank and its (the bank’s) legal adviser. “The allegation seems to be of a very petty nature…and is a trumped up charge to remove the applicant from a post,” the CAT observed while also pointing out that the BDA could not demonstrate existence of Doddagubbi in the Master Plan as the map only mentions names like Gubbi.

The CAT also spiked the allegation that Dr. Sharma violated the floor area ratio while pointing out that on the 10,000 sq ft of land he owned, construction of up to 15,000 sq ft is permissible lawfully. Significantly, the BMTF chief’s house (under construction) has a built-up area of only up to 10,000 sq ft.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 8:33:47 AM |

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