The Centre has moved the Delhi High Court against its single judge order quashing suspension of the State Trading Corporation's CMD against whom the CBI has lodged a case of cheating for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 2,112 crore to the government-run entity.
A vacation bench of justices Vinod Goel and Rekha Palli, before whom the petition was listed, said it would be heard by the appropriate bench on July 4.
The plea, filed through Central government standing counsel Arun Bhardwaj, has contended that the single judge erred in quashing the November 2016 order of suspension against the chairman-cum-managing director of the corporation.
The single judge on May 18 had said in his order that the prolonged suspension of the official without deciding his representation for review of the action taken against him was "wholly unjustified".
The single judge had said the Supreme Court has mandated that a suspension order should not extend beyond the period of three months and during this period, the charge-sheet should be served upon the delinquent officer.
"Undisputedly, no charge-sheet has been served upon petitioner (CMD) and in view of the protracted suspension of the petitioner, I find that there is no justification to further prolong his suspension for an indefinite period, as till date, charge-sheet has not been served upon him," the single judge had said.
Challenging the May 18 order, the Centre in its plea has contended that the single did not take into account the fact that the CBI has lodged a case against the CMD, Khaleel Rahim, and others for alleged "abuse of official position, cheating, fraud, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation of stock to cause financial loss to the tune of Rs 2,112 Crore (as on February 28, 2017) to the corporation".
The government has also said that there may be situations where a preliminary enquiry before framing of charge may require more than 90 days.
"In such a situation, to say that the suspension of the employee should be revoked or that he should be reinstated would amount to placing him in a position where from he may interfere in the free and fair preliminary enquiry and/or criminal investigation by either tampering with evidence by threatening/winning over witnesses," the petition said.
It also said that Rahim's representation could not be acted upon as the State Trading Corporation of India Ltd Employees' (Conduct, Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1975 has no provision for review of suspension.