HC notice to govt. on plea that IAS officer stalled probe in criminal case in which he himself is an accused
The High Court of Karnataka has ordered issue of notice to the State government on a petition complaining that an IAS officer, who himself was arraigned as a co-accused in a corruption case, has stalled the investigation by denying permission to probe the case against the main accused.
Justice K. Natarajan passed the order on the petition filed by one H.M. Girish of Ramanagaram questioning the legality of July 17, 2021, communication of IAS officer Mohammed Ikramulla Shariff, who is serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Ramanagaram ZP.
The CEO had denied permission under Section 17-A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct a probe against Doddalinge Gowda, a Panchayat Development Officer of Kalliganahalli Gram Panchayat, on the charges of embezzlement of lakhs of rupees by issuing self cheques.
It has been pointed in the petition that he first filed a complaint against the PDO before the CEO but as no action was taken he filed a complaint before the ACB. As the ACB too did not act, the petitioner, in December 2020, filed a private complaint before Ramanagaram district court, which directed the ACB to probe allegations of corruptions against both the PDO and the CEO, and submit a report.
After registration of FIR, the petitioner claimed, the CEO in a hurried manner conducted a departmental inquiry against the PDO and took action of deducting two increments from salary after inquiry found he was guilty. Also, the CEO, despite the district court’s order, denied sanction for the ACB to conduct probe against the PDO saying action was already taken and no investigation by the ACB was needed.
However, the petitioner questioned legality of the ACB’s action of seeking permission from the CEO as well as the denial of permission by the CEO, when he himself is an accused in the same case.