SC Seeks Reply from Centre, Chhattisgarh on Suspended IPS Officer’s Plea for Transfer of Probe in Three Cases to CBI

The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre, Chhattisgarh government and others on a plea filed by a suspended IPS officer seeking transfer of investigation of three FIRs lodged against him to the CBI or any other independent agency.

Gurjinder Pal Singh, a 1994-batch IPS officer, has alleged the Chhattisgarh government machinery is being used to harass him and and tarnish his reputation as he had declined “illegal favours” to various high ranked officials of the state, and to falsely implicate members of the erstwhile government in ‘Nagrik Apurti Nigam’ (NAN) scam.

He has also sought quashing of the September 19, 2022 order granting sanction to prosecute him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A bench of Justices S K Kaul and A Amanullah issued notice on his plea and sought responses from the respondents, including the Centre, the Chhattisgarh government and the CBI.

“Notice. Counter be filed within four weeks. Rejoinder within two weeks thereafter,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing after eight weeks.

During the hearing, senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the officer, told the bench that three separate FIRs, including one under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and another for sedition have been lodged against the petitioner.

“At the drop of the hat…sedition. It is too much,” the bench orally observed.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who along with advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appeared for the state of Chhattisgarh, termed as incorrect the allegations levelled by the petitioner.

“He (petitioner) is saying that his case, right or wrong, has a history of persecution. You file your counter,” the bench told Rohatgi.

The apex court also issued notice on an interim prayer by the petitioner who has sought a direction that proceedings emanating from the three FIRs lodged against him be stayed.

In his plea, Singh has claimed his refusal to “oblige the political bosses” have led to him, along with his family members, being maliciously targeted with series of “false and concocted cases”, and within a month, three FIRs were registered against him.

The plea said on July 5, 2021, the petitioner was “summarily suspended” citing registration of an FIR against him.

It claimed Singh is being “illegally persecuted and castigated for not toeing the line as scribed by few powerful state officials” and is being punished for diligently performing his duties and refusing to “play puppet” for the higher-ups.

The plea said the petitioner was shocked to know that after a lapse of four years the state government, through its letter dated October 5, 2020, directed the state police chief to reinvestigate specific paragraphs of a self-contained note of CBI regarding a matter that was already judicially settled after due investigation.

It said the CBI had filed a closure report in the matter in 2013 which was accepted in 2017.

Later, it said, an FIR was lodged in June 2021 under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act alleging the petitioner has acquired disproportionate assets that do not align with his known sources of income.

The plea said another FIR was lodged against him for having committed offences, including that of sedition, and later a third FIR was registered in July 2021 for an alleged extortion incident that took place in 2016.

The officer has sought his reinstatement in service after cancellation of his suspension.

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