Bihar govt initiates proceedings for inter-cadre transfer of 'harassed' IAS officer

Patna: The Bihar government has initiated proceedings for the transfer of a "harassed" IAS officer outside the state, in compliance with an order passed by the Delhi High Court earlier this week.

The court had also directed the Centre to initiate his inter-cadre transfer, while expressing bewilderment over the state's reluctance to let of IAS officer Jitendra Gupta, "who in the discharge of his duty took on the transport mafia".

The order was passed while dismissing an appeal filed by the state government challenging a direction issued by Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to consider Gupta's plea for inter-cadre transfer to Haryana or for central deputation.

According to a letter issued by the state's general administration department on Wednesday, Gupta will also be paid a compensation of Rs 5 lakh "and all other outstanding dues" in accordance with the order passed by a division bench of the Delhi High Court on July 2.

The letter has been addressed to the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. The Delhi High Court had in its order held the state government "squarely responsible" for "immense humiliation and harassment" that Gupta, a 2013 cadre IAS officer, had to undergo for acting tough on the transport mafia in Bihar.

Gupta had been arrested on graft charges by the state vigilance department while he was posted as a sub-divisional magistrate in Kaimur district in July, 2016.

Four months later, he moved the Patna High Court, which quashed the FIR lodged against him observing "the whole case of the prosecution is based on falsehood".

The Patna High Court order was challenged by the state government before the Supreme Court, which dismissed its appeal at the admission stage following which Gupta was reinstated, departmental proceedings against him were withdrawn and the period of his suspension and incarceration regularized as "spent on duty".

Gupta, apprehending threat to his life from the transport mafia, thereafter made requests for a bodyguard and letters endorsing the same were written by the district collector and the principal secretary.

He subsequently made a representation to the Centre in March, 2017 seeking inter-cadre transfer to Haryana, but it elicited no response following which he moved the Supreme Court.

The apex court directed the Centre to decide on the matter within a stipulated period of time. Although the Union government received "no objection" from Haryana government, it rejected Gupta's request vide an order passed in December, 2017.

The Centre's order was challenged by the IAS officer before CAT where he reiterated that he felt threatened by "mafias and conniving officials" in Bihar and this was causing him mental anguish and health problems besides having an adverse impact on his family and his children's education.

The tribunal ruled in Gupta's favour, while observing that if he was "not taken out of Bihar, it could be a repeat of the Satyendra Dubey murder case".

The Delhi High Court rejected the state government's appeal saying its resistance to let go of Gupta "is something that bewilders us. While on one hand, he is one of the most corrupt and tainted officers, yet every effort has been made to stall his movement out of the state cadre".

"There is nothing to show that the petitioner - state of Bihar - has taken any action either against the transport mafia or against the vigilance officers falsely implicating him", the court had pointed out.