Ishrat Jahan case | Probe team member Satish Chandra Verma dismissed from service

Satish Chandra Verma was dismissed for giving an interview to a TV channel in 2016 

September 13, 2022 02:57 pm | Updated 07:46 pm IST - New Delhi

IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma. Photo: crpf.gov.in

IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma. Photo: crpf.gov.in

Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Satish Chandra Verma, who assisted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in probing the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, was dismissed from service on August 30, a month before he was to superannuate on September 30, for giving an interview to a TV channel in 2016. 

Mr. Verma has filed two special leave petitions (SLPs) in the Supreme Court against the order which states that in 2016 a concerted media campaign started to discredit the evidence in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case with “senior members of the ruling party” and retired officers joining the campaign. It adds that false accusations of torture were made against him by R.V.S. Mani, a former Under Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and he denied the accusations as media surrounded him at the official guesthouse in Guwahati in 2016. 

The 1986 batch IPS officer had challenged the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Delhi High Court and it was during the hearing of the case on August 30 that the Ministry informed the court that Mr. Verma has been dismissed from service on August 30. “The dismissal would mean that he will not be entitled to any pension or other benefits. The High Court had earlier given him protection from any coercive action. We have filed two SLPs in the Supreme Court. The High Court order says the dismissal cannot come into effect till September 19,” Sarim Naved, counsel for Mr. Verma, told The Hindu

In all, three chargesheets were served by the MHA on Mr. Verma — August 13, 2018, September 28, 2018 and May 9, 2016. The dismissal is made as per the chargesheet served on August 13, 2018. 

Four charges

The order of dismissal accessed by The Hindu mentions four charges against Mr. Verma. 

First — Mr. Verma, as the Chief Vigilance Officer of Northeastern Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO), “interacted with public media on March 2 and 3, 2016 in an interview with India Today news channel at the official premises of NEEPCO at Guwahati without any authorisation or permission from the competent authority and spoke unauthorisedly on the matters which were not within the sphere of his duties at NEEPCO.”

“He misused the official premises, a public property” and by his act contravened provisions of Rule 3(1) of the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules 1968, the order said. 

Second — Mr. Verma made such statement of fact and opinion on his communication over public media in the matter of encounter of a terrorist Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat, which had the effect of an adverse criticism of action of the Central government and the State government and capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central government and the State government and “which is also capable of affecting the relationship of India with a neighbouring country.” He also did not make it clear that the views expressed by him were his own and not that of the government. 

Third — Mr. Verma, without there being any general or special order of the government, directly communicated official information regarding interrogation of R.V.S. Mani, then Under Secretary in the MHA, regarding the contents of the affidavits filed by the Government of India before the Gujarat High Court in the Ishrat Jahan case. 

Fourth — Mr. Verma, without the previous express or deemed sanction of the government, had recourse to the press (electronic media) for vindication of official acts to counter the statements of G.K. Pillai, the then Secretary, MHA, and R.V.S Mani.

Mr. Verma is currently posted with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Coimbatore.

1,100-page petition

In 2018, the officer, while challenging the MHA’s chargesheet against him had placed a 1,100-page petition before the Guwahati Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). He alleged that “the malicious acts are meant to victimise the applicant for doing the work that he did in two phases [September 2010 to January 2011, and July 2012 to June 2013] for investigating the Ishrat Jahan encounter case and bringing to light the underlying ugly truth of the criminal conspiracy involving the high and mighty in both the Gujarat State and the Central government.”

Mr. Verma had informed the CAT that his services as the CVO of NEEPCO were curtailed as he had red-flagged a transportation scam worth ₹450 crore, which also involved a relative of the then Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju and for investigating a fraudulent land deal done in Gujarat.

Jahan (19) from Mumbra near Mumbai was killed along with Javed Shaikh (alias Pranesh Pillai), Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar by the Gujarat Police in an ‘encounter’ near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

The police had said the four were terrorists who were planning to assassinate then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

However, a High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) of which Mr. Verma was one of the members, concluded that the encounter was fake, after which the CBI registered a case against various police officials.

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