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P.P. GOPI v. STATE OF KERALA - WP(C) No. 25175 of 2006(V)  RD-KL 4004 (20 December 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAMWP(C) No. 25175 of 2006(V)
1. P.P. GOPI,
1. STATE OF KERALA,
2. THE DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE,
For Petitioner :SRI.KRB.KAIMAL (SR.)
For Respondent :GOVERNMENT PLEADER
The Hon'ble MR. Justice K.K.DENESAN
O R D E R
K.K. DENESAN, J.= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = W.P.(C)No. 25175 OF 2006 V = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Dated this the 20th December, 2006
J U D G M E N T
As per Govt. Order dated 15-9-2006 (Ext. P1) the 1st respondent placed the petitioner under suspension from service while he was working as Additional Director of Agriculture. It is alleged that he had misappropriated more than Rs. 20 lakhs of Government money from the amount advanced for incurring expenditure under various items referred to in paragraph 1 of the suspension order. Challenging Ext. P1 order before this Court the petitioner contended that he has got satisfactory explanation for each and every allegation mentioned in Ext. P1 and if sufficient opportunity is given to him, the 1st respondent- Government will be satisfied that the order of suspension is liable to be revoked. Of course, the petitioner has contended that Ext. P1 was passed without proper application of mind and actuated by extraneous considerations. WPC No.25175 /2006 -2-
2. During the pendency of this writ petition the Director of Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau was impleaded as additional respondent No. 3. It was brought to the notice of this Court that the Kerala Lok Ayukta had passed Ext. P5 order on 16-6-2006 directing the additional 3rd respondent to hold a detailed enquiry into the allegations made in the complaint against the petitioner and to submit a detailed report. In the light of the above information this Court passed interim order dated 30-11-2006 directing the additional 3rd respondent to file a report based on the information collected by the officer entrusted with the responsibility to conduct enquiry as directed by Lok Ayukta and to file a report before this Court.
3. Accordingly, the additional 3rd respondent has filed report dated 11-12-2006.
4. The interim report mentioned above reveals that an enquiry was conducted by the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau, Special Investigation Unit, Thiruvanahthapuram, who during the course of his enquiry collected evidence from 9 witnesses and perused the expenditure vouchers and WPC No.25175 /2006 -3- other relevant documents. The report says that the expenditure vouchers worth Rs. 3,02,300/- are yet to be settled and that there is a proposal by the Director of Agriculture to write off Rs.87,316/- and the same is pending with the Government. It is stated that the petitioner had claimed travelling allowance for the period from 2/2004 to 6/2004 after obtaining the counter signature of the Secretary, Agriculture Wholesale Market. A final decision has not been taken with regard to the culpability or otherwise of the petitioner. The report says that areas which gave rise to suspicion are subjected to closer scrutiny and a definite conclusion will be arrived at before the report is filed before the Lok Ayakuta on or before 3-1-2007.
5. Learned Sr. counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that a perusal of the allegations initially raised against the petitioner as seen from Ext. P1 and the facts presently available based on the evidence collected by Shri. Mahipal Yadav, Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau, in his interim report would unmistakably show WPC No.25175 /2006 -4- that the allegations against the petitioner are not that serious as they were initially found to be. The allegation that the petitioner had unauthorisedly availed travelling allowance has been found to be one of claiming travelling allowance from the funds of the Agriculture Wholesale Market while he was the Director of the Wholesale Market. Probably the allegation relating to travelling allowance is one of technical in nature. Senior counsel points out that claiming travelling allowance without undertaking the journey knowing fully well that the incumbent is not eligible to claim the same is clearly distinguishable from claiming or availing due travelling allowance, from the funds of the Wholesale Market instead of from the Government. It is also pointed out that the initial feeling that the matter involves misappropriation of more than Rs.20 to 22 lakhs also cannot be pressed into service in the light of the evidence collected by the Supdt. of Police, Vigilance and Anti-corruption, as directed by the Lok Ayukta.
6. The petitioner offers to approach the Government with a request to reconsider the decision WPC No.25175 /2006 -5- taken as per Ext. P1 and to revoke the order of suspension and to reinstate him. It is pointed out that if the petitioner is destined to retire from service while under suspension after having put in long service in the Agriculture Department, it would remain as an indelible agony.
7. It is submitted that a representation will be filed before the Government in terms of Rule 10(6) of the Kerala Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1960 for due consideration by the Government.
8. I have heard the Govt. Pleader for the respondents.
9. The petitioner is due to retire from service by the end of January, 2007 and therefore the Government shall have to consider the entire facts and circumstances and take a fresh decision in the matter. The representation of the petitioner with a request to revoke Ext. P1 order of suspension shall be filed within one week from today. If so done, the same shall be considered in the light of relevant aspects. Appropriate decision taken as expeditiously as WPC No.25175 /2006 -6- possible, in accordance with law, at any rate, within three weeks from the date of receipt of the representation. The petitioner shall produce a copy of this judgment before the Government for necessary action. The writ petition is disposed of as above. K.K. DENESAN
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