Supreme Court cold-shoulders top CBI officer for defying 18-month-old transfer order
A top officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who played the victim card and refused to join his posting at Port Blair for more than 18 months now got cold-shouldered by the Supreme Court, which refused to tolerate such disobedience.
Ajay Kumar Bassi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) with the CBI was ordered by the agency to go to Port Blair on January 11, 2019. However, he refused to go claiming that the transfer order was illegal. His lawyer, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, claimed that the first order transferring him to Andaman and Nicobar Island was passed by the CBI on October 24, 2018.
Against this decision, he had approached the apex court complaining that the decision to transfer him was part of a conspiracy to influence the course of an investigation conducted by him against another senior officer of the CBI.
On January 9, Bassi’s transfer order was withdrawn after Alok Kumar Verma won the case in the Supreme Court and got reinstated as the CBI director. Two days later, M Nageshwar Rao took over as the acting director of the agency and gave effect to Bassi’s earlier transfer order. Since then, Bassi moved an application challenging his transfer in the Supreme Court, citing “personal domestic exigencies” to his employer. He has since then not being given any salary.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said, “How can you not join your place of posting… Even if an order is illegal, you cannot disobey it. You have to get it set aside by the Court.”
Dhavan sought protection for one month citing that the agency had brought out a charge sheet against him, blaming him for approaching the Court without seeking permission from the CBI. Bassi planned to approach the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) against his transfer order.
The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said, “We can’t help you… Unless the order of transfer has been set aside or modified by this court, that order stands.”
The Court allowed Bassi to withdraw the petition and pursue his legal remedies before any other appropriate forum.