In a significant development, the Nagpur bench of the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) has issued a notice on Friday to the state government for suspending the Bhandara Civil Surgeon, Dr KD Ramteke in connection with reports of post-mortem performed on bodies of victims of Khairlangi Dalit killings.
Challenging the suspension, Dr Ramteke contended that he was no way involved in performing the post mortems of the victims of Bhotmage family but he was penalised due to public outcry on the killings. He pointed out that the post-mortem on the bodies was carried out at the rural hospital, Mohadi in the district where Dr Bante was the in-charge doctor.
Dr Ramteke said that he left Bhandara on September 31 to attend a meeting in Mumbai and also attended another meeting in Nagpur till October 5 and resumed the duty at Bhandara only on October 6. In fact, on seeing the post-mortem reports he reported the lacunae in them to the higher authorities.
The suspended Civil Surgeon said that all the relevant papers are with the police and the matter is being handed over to the CBI. There was no justification in putting him under suspension, he argued.
Dr Ramteke further contended that after his suspension, his headquarters has been shifted to Aurangabad. This amounted to transfer which was done in violation of the newly enacted law on transfer of government servants.
According to him, the action has unsettled his family life as his daughter is doing her post-graduation in Nagpur.
A division of MAT comprising, Justice DS Zoting and Dr ML Gautam, after hearing preliminary arguments from both the sides, issued notice to the government and asked it to submit the reply by December 21.
It may be pointed out that the post-mortem reports did not show sign of rape on the family members of Bhotmange. This is been disputed by activists agitating against the brutal killings.
The state government had suspended eight government officials, including five police personnel in connection with the Khairlangi episode. Four members of a Dalit family were brutally killed by upper caste Hindus on September 29. The state government had taken action against these officials for dereliction of their duties.
Meanwhile, the CBI inquiry to investigation the incident has already begun. A team of around 50 CBI personnel, led by the joint director of the central agency, Vivek Dube are camping at Khairlangi to investigate the matter.