Gujarat HC Rejects Retired IPS Officer’s Pleas on Assam Encounter Show Cause Notice

The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed retired IPS officer Rajnish Rai’s plea against the order of the Ahmedabad bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) rejecting his applications challenging a show cause notice issued to him in 2021 in a 2017 alleged fake encounter case in Assam.

The division bench of Justices Vipul Pancholi and Hamsukh Suthar rejected on the grounds of jurisdiction Rai’s plea challenging the Ahmedabad CAT’s orders dated February 16 and March 22, 2023.

The HC also rejected his prayer to declare the Ahmedabad bench as having the jurisdiction to hear and decide his applications, adding the tribunal had not committed any error while dismissing his applications.

While serving in Gujarat earlier, Rai had arrested now retired IPS officer DG Vanzara, Dinesh M N (from Rajasthan cadre) and Rajkumar Pandian in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case in 2007.

Rai, a 1992-batch Indian Police Service officer, had moved the Ahmedabad bench of CAT against a show-cause notice issued to him in December 2021 in connection with the 2017 alleged fake encounter which took place when he was serving as the Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Shillong in Meghalaya.

As the then IG of CRPF in the North Eastern Sector, Rai, on April 17, 2017, sent a report to DG, CRPF recommending an investigation into the genuineness of an encounter carried out on March 29-30 that year jointly by the Army, Assam Police, Sashastra Seema Bal and CRPF in Chirang, Assam in which two persons were killed.

In June 2017 he was transferred as IG, CIAT School, Chittoor (AP) and a preliminary inquiry was instituted against him. Rai challenged his transfer as well as the inquiry against him in the New Delhi bench of CAT, which rejected his pleas.

He challenged the tribunal order in Delhi High Court. During the pendency of his plea before the Delhi HC, he was served with another show cause notice dated December 28, 2021.

Rai challenged the fresh show cause notice in Delhi HC, which, on January 28, 2023, disposed of his plea against a fresh show cause notice and granted him the liberty to pursue his grievance with the tribunal without specifying the bench.

Rai then filed an application before the Ahmedabad bench tribunal challenging the December 2021 show cause notice.

The Union government raised a preliminary objection with regard to the jurisdiction of the tribunal, after which the tribunal dismissed his application as well as his review petition, following which Rai approached the Gujarat High Court.

Rai had also sought voluntary retirement from service on August 23, 2018, which was not accepted by the authorities. He, thereafter, relinquished the charge of his office at Chittoor on November 30, 2018, after informing all concerned authorities.

He challenged the rejection of his VRS application in Ahmedabad bench of CAT and was subsequently placed under suspension on December 17, 2018.

He was served with a chargesheet dated January 14, 2019 for misconduct for allegedly relinquishing his office unauthorizedly.

In its order dated January 21, 2019, the Ahmedabad bench of Tribunal granted him interim relief and restrained the respondent from passing final orders in the disciplinary proceedings.

Rai as well as the respondents filed pleas in Gujarat High Court challenging the tribunal’s interim order. In its August 2019 order, the HC directed both the parties to maintain status quo and admitted the matter.

Rai was handed over the investigation of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case in 2007 after which he had arrested senior IPS officers Vanzara, Dinesh MN and Pandian.

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