Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Oct 29:
In a move designed to delay a ruling in the case, the Odisha government today sought more time from the High Court to submit the case diary of the FIR lodged against former DGP Prakash Mishra by the state Vigilance department.
However, the High Court, while granting time to the state government, said the case should not pose any hurdle in the future posting or appointment of the top cop and ordered that no coercive action will be taken against him until the final adjudication in the case.
In a report published on October 15, Odisha Sun Times had predicted that the desperate state government would take such a course in an effort to delay a verdict beyond November 2 when the departmental promotion committee (DPC) is likely to meet in New Delhi to take a call on the appointment of the next CBI director.
But the government ended up with egg on its face with the High Court ruling that the case against him would not pose a hurdle in his future appointments/postings. In other words, Mishra can still be in contention to succeed incumbent CBI director Ranjit Sinha, who is retiring on November 30.
The High Court has fixed the next date of hearing in the matter for November 19 and has directed the state vigilance to submit the case diary (CD) and audit reports in the case at the earliest.
The former DGP had sought the High Court’s intervention for quashing of the FIR filed against him by the state Vigilance department for alleged irregularities in making advance payment of Rs 59 crore to some steel and cement supply firms during his tenure as CMD of the Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OPHWC) between 2006 and 2009.
On October 12, the High Court had issued notices to Odisha government and the Union government to file replies to Mishra’s contention that he was being unduly victimized by the state government to prevent him becoming the next CBI chief. The court had also called for all relevant records in the case filed by the Vigilance.
Mishra, a 1977-batch officer, presently posted as the special secretary, Internal Security, Government of India, was the chairman-cum-managing-director of OPHWC between 2006 and 2009, in the rank of additional DGP.
On September 20, days after he went on Central deputation to New Delhi despite desperate efforts by the state government to block his way, the Bhubaneswar vigilance division registered a case against him under section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 409 and 120-B of Indian Penal Code alleging that advance payment of Rs 59 crore was given to some steel and cement suppliers in 2009 in violation of existing rules.
Mishra had hit back accusing the Naveen Patnaik government of vendetta and sought to know why the state government had invited him to become the DGP of the state in 2012, if there were such serious allegations against him.
The state government’s move had met with widespread condemnation and was seen as a move to scuttle his prospects as the next CBI chief.
Mishra is one of the frontrunners for the top CBI post.