CATpulls trigger in favour of sacked IB top gun

Tribunal says he deserved to be heard first

GN Bureau | February 5, 2010

The Central Administrative Tribunal on Tuesday quashed the dismissal of a senior Intelligence Bureau officer of Maharashtra cadre and ordered the intelligence agency to pay him Rs 1 lakh as litigation cost and mental torture.

Francis John Arahna, an IPS officer of 1984 batch, was sacked after he returned from his foreign assignment in the United States in June 2006, ignoring his request for voluntary retirement.

The IB watched his movements and put him under "lookout notice" after suspecting that he was trying to take asylum in the United States. The intelligence agency proceeded against him after taping his conversation that he has applied for a World Bank job.

The agency started departmental proceedings against him in August 2006 on two charges:
1.Arhana was trying to leave the country with the government's permission, and
2.He had obtained a G-4 category visa granted by the US government to the employees of the international organisations and their families, again without the government's permission.

In its order, CAT awarded Rs 1 lakh to Arhana as cost of litigation, stating that he was at liberty to sue the government for damages that he might have actually suffered all this while.

The two-member bench of CAT chairman Justice V K Bali and vice-chairman L K Joshi struck down his suspension as well as dismissal in 2009, ordering payment of his salary and allowances during the period of suspension as also all post-retirement dues within one month.

It noted that he was suspended on July 27, 2006, but no inquiry was ever held and he continued to remain under suspension for over three years and ultimately dismissed from service on September 17 last year without taking into consideration his explanation.

"We have no hesitation whatsoever in thus setting aside the order dated 27.10.2006 rejecting the request of the applicant for premature retirement, as also advice of UPSC dated 10.8.2009, as indeed also order dated 17.9.2009 dismissing the applicant from service. The applicant would stand relieved by way of premature retirement from the date he was dismissed from service, i.e., 17.9.2009," the order said.




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