Finish enquiry against suspended DIG by July 9, tribunal tells stateUpdated: Jun 28, 2020, 00:16 IST
The Maharashtra administrative tribunal (MAT) has ordered the state home department to complete the departmental enquiry against suspended deputy inspector general (DIG) Nishikant More, who was booked for allegedly molesting a minor girl in Navi Mumbai. More had approached the MAT challenging his suspension as the enquiry was not completed within the stipulated 90 days’ time.
In December 2019, Taloja police had booked More under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act following the complaint of a 17-year-old girl’s father. The father had alleged that More touched the girl inappropriately while feeding her birthday cake at a party.
More was posted as a DIG at the motor transport department in Pune when, on January 9, he was suspended as per the state government’s order. The Bombay high court (HC) had granted More anticipatory bail in January.
On March 10, More wrote to the government seeking “revocation of suspension and reinstatement in service on the ground of protracted and prolonged suspension without initiating the department enquiry”.
More’s counsel KR Jagdale applied to the tribunal, stating that he is eligible for reinstatement as the enquiry has not been completed within 90 days.
Advocate Kranti Gaikwad, representing the state home department, told the tribunal, “The process to place the matter before the review committee is underway.”
The tribunal coram, taking note of a previous judgment by the Supreme Court, held that “…if the memorandum of charges/charge-sheet is served, in that event, the disciplinary authority is under obligation to pass reasoned order about the extension or revocation of suspension.”
The tribunal also asked the department to review the suspension and pass an order by July 9.
Case filed against girl’s family
More and the girl’s families were acquainted until they got into a property dispute. Weeks after the molestation case was registered against More, the girl on January 8, went ‘missing’, leaving behind a ‘suicide note’ naming the DIG for her death.
She was traced to Dehradun a week later with her 20-year-old boyfriend, and they were brought back to the city. On their return, Taloja police arrested her boyfriend under sections of the Pocso Act, for sexual assault.
Later in February, Kharghar police booked the girl, her parents, brother, and her boyfriend under charges of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting, defamation, and assaulting a public servant under sections of the IPC and rarely-used Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922.
The Kharghar case was registered based on a December 21, 2019, incident wherein the girl’s family and her boyfriend surrounded More’s driver Rakesh Gaikwad, claiming that she had been kidnapped by More. It was found during the investigation that the girl was in touch with her father and was also present nearby, a police source said.