RP Tolani, a member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal bench, which ruled that Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi and late WN Chadha received kickbacks in Bofors gun deal, is in a tusstle with the Centre over his non-appointment as vice-president of the Tribunal for over a year.
The January-2011 order of the tribunal, besides embarrassing the Congress, also made things difficult for the CBI, which is seeking closure of the case against Quattrocchi citing lack of evidence. The tribunal had also asked why the IT department did not probe Quattrocchi.
Aggrieved by the September 9, 2009 decision of the government to not appoint him as vice-president of the Tribunal and give the posts across the country to members junior to him, Tolani had in November 2010 moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which dismissed his plea summarily.
Now, acting on a petition filed Tolani against the CAT order, Justice Pradeep Nandrajog of the Delhi HC has issued notices to the law ministry, department of personnel and training and the president of the Tribunal based in Mumbai. The HC also issued notices to five acting vice-presidents of the Tribunal, who are said to have superseded Tolani "in violation of rules".
Tolani has accused the law ministry and president of the Tribunal of not disclosing in 2009 proper facts before the selection committee headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia (then an SC judge). Tolani contended he was denied the post despite having an "impeccable record of service throughout" and being on the top of the seniority list published in January 6, 2009.
Counsel JP Sengh, who is representing Tolani in the HC told HT: I don't want to comment on it as the matter is sub-judice."
Tolani first made a representation to the government in April 2010 but did not get any relief. He finally moved the CAT after getting relevant papers through an RTI.
"As per RTI replies received by me the selection panel had failed to consider vital aspects and there were glaring deficiencies in the selection process," he said in the petition.