Almost 14 years after the Central government suspended Indian Revenue Service officer Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, the Supreme Court has ordered his reinstatement and the withdrawal of all disciplinary actions against him.
A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice BS Chauhan, dismissed the Centre’s appeal challenging the September 17, 2012 Delhi High Court order that quashed the order to suspend Aggarwal. The high court had upheld the June 1, 2012 order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal revoking his suspension.
The 1985-batch IRS officer was suspended on December 28, 1999 after the CBI registered two cases against him - one for allegedly framing businessman Subhash Bharjatya in a FERA violation case and the other for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The Central Administrative Tribunal had first set aside his suspension order in 2003.
“The orders passed by the appellants (Centre) had been in contravention of not only the order of the court but also of the office memorandum and statutory rules,” the SC said rejecting the Centre’s appeal against the HC order.
It expressed surprise over the government’s refusal to reinstate the former deputy director of Enforcement Directorate despite orders passed in his favour by the Central Administrative Tribunal and Delhi High Court.
The SC also asked the Delhi HC to decide afresh his contempt plea against former city police commissioner Neeraj Kumar and others for allegedly levelling false charges against him, which resulted in him spending 36 days in jail.
“We are of the opinion that as both parties had raised issues on facts as well as on law, the high court ought to have dealt with the case adverting to all relevant issues, particularly when the appellant (Aggarwal) had made an allegation that his liberty had been jeopardised by the respondents who interfered with the course of justice by misleading the court,” the SC said.
The Apex Court also dismissed the CBI’s plea for grant of pardon to controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma in a criminal case in which he is facing charges, along with Aggarwal, of forgery to frame Bharjatya. The Supreme Court upheld a Delhi High Court order quashing the trial court’s direction on granting pardon to Verma in the 1998 case.