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Delhi High Court dismisses CBI plea challenging CAT order quashing charges against CBI officer

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The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), challenging the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which quashed an article of charge framed against CBI Officer Ajay Kumar Bassi, for moving an application before the Supreme Court against his transfer from New Delhi to Port Blair, without obtaining prior sanction of the Government.

The Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh on september 10 refused to interfere with the order passed by the Tribunal, while observing that Article of Charges and Statement of imputation of misconduct framed against Bassi do not disclose as to how the act of availing a legal remedy could be treated as ‘misconduct’. 

The Bench posed a query to Advocate Ripudaman Bhardwaj, representing CBI, as to which service rule has been breached by Bassi in approaching the Apex Court. Upon this, Bhardwaj contended that the conduct of Bassi was in breach of Rule 19 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, wherein it is contemplated that a Government servant shall not have recourse to any Court for vindication of any official act which has been the subject matter of adverse criticism or an attack of a defamatory character, except with previous sanction of the Government.

Also Read: Delhi High Court grants bail to 2 in connection with murder of policeman during Delhi riots

The Bench noted that the circumstances in which the aforementioned Rule would be attracted are not present in the instant case and thereby, no rule has been breached by Bassi in approaching the Apex Court challenging his transfer.

“In the present case, it is not even alleged that the respondent (Bassi) had approached the Supreme Court for his vindication on account of adverse criticism, or an attack of a defamatory character qua an official act. As aforesaid, he approached the Supreme Court to challenge his transfer by the respondent. No other Rule has been brought to our notice, where under the act of the respondent in approaching the Court to seek relief against his transfer was barred without obtaining any prior sanction of the Government, the Court held.

CBI alleged that Bassi had conducted himself as an ‘undisciplined’ member of a Government department and the article of charge was quashed by the Tribunal by a summary order without any discussion.

Also Read: Delhi HC adjourns Mehbooba Mufti PMLA hearing to Sept 30, Centre to seek transfer of case to SC

Bassi was the investigating officer in the corruption charge against former CBI Special Director and present Police Commissioner of Delhi Rakesh Asthana and was transferred to Port Blair from New Delhi by interim CBI chief M. Nageswara Rao. He challenged the order before the Apex Court, contending that he has been targeted for undertaking an impartial investigation against Asthana and others.

Read the order here:

CENTRAL-BUREAU-OF-INVESTIGATION-ANR-1

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