Madras High Court refuses to refer estranged couple, former T.N. DGP Rajesh Das and IAS officer Beela Venkatesan, for mediation

It also dismissed Mr. Das’s plea to restore power supply to a bungalow at Thaiyur near Kelambakkam in Chengalpattu district, where he said he resides

Updated - June 11, 2024 08:49 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 04:13 pm IST - CHENNAI

Former special DGP, Rajesh Das

Former special DGP, Rajesh Das | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Madras High Court on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, rejected a plea by former special Director General of Police (DGP) Rajesh Das to restore the electricity service connection to a bungalow in Thaiyur near Kelambakkam in Chengalpattu district, and to restrain Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) officials from disturbing the power supply in future.

Justice Anita Sumanth dismissed the writ petition filed by the former Indian Police Service officer (IPS) and also refused to refer for mediation, the disputes between him and his estranged wife Beela Venkatesan, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who currently holds the post of Energy Secretary. The petitioner’s counsel had insisted on referring the issue to be settled through mediation.

However, appearing on behalf of Ms. Venkatesan, senior counsel P. Wilson stated his client was not interested in mediation since she had moved a competent court seeking a divorce. Since there was no meeting of minds at present on the issue of mediation, the judge said, the estranged couple could avail of the remedy in the future if they wished to.

Tangedco officials had snapped the power supply to the bungalow on May 20, following a written request submitted by Ms. Venkatesan. Mr. Rajesh had immediately rushed to the court claiming he was residing in the property and therefore, power supply ought not to have been disconnected. He also claimed to be repaying the home loan for the property.

On the other hand, Ms. Venkatesan contended that her father had gifted the land to her and she, in turn, had transferred it to her children. It was also brought to the notice of the court that the electricity service connection was in her name and therefore, she was justified in seeking its disconnection. She said Mr. Rajesh owned a flat at Nungambakkam in Chennai.

After hearing both sides, Justice Sumanth held that a person in lawful possession of a property, even if such a possession was disputed by someone else, would be entitled to an electricity service connection if he/she satisfied the Tangedco officials concerned of being in possession of sufficient and valid proof of occupation and that he/she was in settled possession of the property.

“In so far as the writ petitioner was concerned, for reasons that I have set out, whether the occupation is settled or otherwise remains a question of fact to be decided by a competent court and not even by the (Tangedco) authorities,” the judge said and refused to order restoration of power supply.

The relationship between the couple had soured after Mr. Das was accused of sexually harassing a woman IPS officer in 2021. He was convicted and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment by a trial court in 2023 and the verdict was confirmed by an appellate court too in 2024. However, the Supreme Court had recently granted him an interim relief from surrendering.

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