HC sanctions framing of charges against 2 officers

Jammu, Oct 9: High Court Monday sent a case to a trial court with directions that charges should be framed against two top ranking officers of animal husbandry department. The trial court had dischar...

Jammu, Oct 9: High Court Monday sent a case to a trial court with directions that charges should be framed against two top ranking officers of animal husbandry department. The trial court had discharged the accused officers at the stage of framing charges last year.
The accused officers are: ON Raina, then Joint Director Poultry Jammu and B L Sharma, then Chief Animal Husbandry Officer.
The Special Judge Anti-corruption in January 2005 had discharged the accused. The Vigilance Organisation Jammu (VOJ) in response filed two revision petitions against the order of the Special Judge seeking sanction for prosecution.
Justice YP Nargotra allowed both revision petitions of VOJ and set-aside the order of the Trial Court. Justice Nargotra observed: "The Trial Court holds that a prima-facie case of abuse of official position by the accused is made out, yet it has discharged the accused solely on the ground that no sanction has been accorded by the competent authority for their prosecution."
Court further observed that contention of advocate general B S Salathia appearing for the VOJ that the view expressed by the Trial Court is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Kali Charan Mahapatra Vs State of Orissa. In this case the SC observed that a public servant who commits an offence while he was a public servant is liable to be prosecuted whether he continues in office or not at the time of trial or during the pendency of the prosecution.
Justice Nargotra further observed the proposition of law, that for taking cognizance against a person who has retired from service previous sanction of the competent authority is not necessary, stands firmly settled. "In this view of the matter the discharge of the accused respondents cannot legally be sustained and is therefore set-aside," the court noted.
The VOJ case charges J L Raina, then Director Animal Husbandry, with accepting bribes ranging from Rs 25000 to 50000 from 15 candidates for appointing them on adhoc basis and sanctioning purchase of substandard micro-scopes. As Joint Director, J L Raina, had appointed 36 class IV employees "abusing his official position".
Another accused O N Raina as Joint Director Poultry Jammu appointed class IV without having the competence to appoint them. BL Sharma the then Chief Animal Husbandry Officer Udhampur is alleged to have appointed one candidate illegally.
The VOJ had presented many Challans against the accused persons during the trial. However, then Director JL Raina died during the trial. (JNF)

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