The gutkha scam in Tamil Nadu

DGP posting: Court calls for records

T.K. Rajendran. File photo   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State Chief Secretary to produce by Monday the “entire records” related to the two-year extension of service granted to Director General of Police (DGP) T.K. Rajendran on the day of his superannuation on June 30 despite the allegation of a gutkha scam having taken place during his tenure as the Commissioner of Police, Chennai city, between October 2015 and September 2016.

Justices K.K. Sasidharan and G.R. Swaminathan also issued a direction to Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in Chennai to produce in a sealed cover the alleged incriminating documents seized from a gutkha manufacturer in Chennai and forwarded to the State government in August last since they reportedly revealed details of bribes allegedly paid to a Minister, top police officials and others for permitting the sale of gutkha despite a ban.

 

In a related development, the Income Tax department has written to Chief Vigilance Officer of Central Exercise, New Delhi, requesting appropriate action against some central excise officials whose names figured in the gutkha scam.

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) was ordered to produce the materials that were forwarded to it by the State Government for an inquiry. “The direction to produce the documents should not be construed as an expression of opinion [by this court] with regard to the selection process and the fifth respondent’s appointment as the DGP,” the judges clarified in their interim order passed on a public interest litigation petition challenging his extension of service.

“Though the petitioner had levelled serious allegations against the fifth respondent, there are no materials before this court to substantiate those contentions. Even then, taking into account the high office to which appointment was made by the government and the well recognised legal principle ‘An institution is more important than an individual,’ we deem it fit to direct the respondents 2, 6 and 8 to produce the documents as indicated,” the judges observed.

 

Before adjourning further hearing on the case to Monday, the Bench led by Mr. Justice Sasidharan went on to state: “It is not in dispute that the judicial review is primarily concerned as to whether the incumbent possessed necessary qualifications for appointment and the manner and method in which such appointment was made. The court is expected to consider whether the government had adopted a transparent, fair, just and reasonable procedure in the matter of appointment.”

K. Kathiresan, a trade unionist from Madurai, had filed the PIL petition which also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged involvement of Mr. Rajendran in the gutkha scam. The petitioner’s counsel A. Kannan alleged that the DGP was on the payrolls of the gutkha manufacturers who were doing illegal business in Chennai and that the issue was not taken to the notice of Union Public Service Commission which approved his extension of service


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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 9:00:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dgp-posting-court-calls-for-records/article19226177.ece

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