Tainted IAS officer gets CAT relief

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Cuttack, Feb 10 (PTI) In a setback to Naveen Patnaikgovernment�s apparent bid to counter Opposition tirade overmulti-crore coal scam by suspending IAS officer SrikantaPrusty, Cuttack bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)today granted an interim stay on the suspension order.

Tribunal quoram comprising Administrative member C RMohapatra and Judicial member A K Patnaik also asked the stategovernment to file counters to Prusty�s application withinfour weeks and asked the applicant to file rejoinder, if any,within two weeks thereafter.

The CAT directed the government to allow the IASofficer to continue in his official capacity as before.

Prusty, a 2003-batch IAS officer and currently postedas Director of Higher Education, was put under suspension onSaturday last for his alleged role and subsequent vigilancecase against him in coal scam during his tenure as GeneralManager of Cuttack DIC between May 2007 and April 2010.

On the same ground, he had earlier been suspensed inJuly last year which was, however, stayed by CAT in Augustwith a direction that the stay would continue till Prustyfiled an appeal before the appellate authority.

Orissa High Court too in November last year confirmedthe tribunal order with an observation that if Prustyopted an appeal, delay in filing appeal shall be condoned.

But despite these directives from the tribunal andHC, the state government on February 5 served a secondsuspension order on the officer stating that the appeal periodfor him had expired on August 31, 2010 as per All IndiaServices (Discipline and Appeal) Rules of 1969 whichstipulates an appeal period of 45 days from the date ofsuspension.

Challenging last week�s suspension order on severalgrounds, Prusty had moved the CAT on Monday urging it to quashthe impugned order. Prusty had maintained that the secondsuspension order served on him did not take into account therelief he was granted by the tribunal and hc last year.

Observing that the high court order has been ignored,the CAT quoram contended that the February 5 order ofsuspension was issued without application of mind.

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