Delhi HC junks plea for independent probe into 'cash for contract' scam in Assam Rifles

NEW DELHI
6 Jul 2017

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea seeking a probe by an independent agency into the "cash for contract" corruption issue in the Assam Rifles exposed by a sting operation in 2014 carried out by a media house.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said that as per the records, the paramilitary force has taken appropriate steps to conduct a fair and independent inquiry into the allegations made in the sting operation. The court said the steps taken by Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force of India, was with the "active involvement" and "under instruction" of the ministry of home affairs (MHA). It noted that the petitioner, an ex-serviceman who claimed to be the vice-president of Assam Rifles Ex-Serviceman Welfare Association, has placed nothing on record to show there was any infirmity in the action taken or the directions issued by the MHA. The petitioner, Rampat Singh, had sought quashing of the departmental inquiry ordered by the Director General of the Assam Rifles and appointment of an independent probe agency, saying that the sting operation had alleged there was active involvement of the senior officer.
The sting operation was carried out and published by the media house in 2014 and based on it, a departmental inquiry was initiated by the Vigilance Wing of the Assam Rifles. The Centre, during the proceedings, had opposed the plea saying the petition was a proxy litigation initiated at the behest of a blacklisted ex-contractor of the paramilitary force or those indicted by the inquiry. Assam Rifles had told the court that the progress in the inquiry was being regularly communicated to the MHA and the ministry was actively involved in all the decisions taken by the force.
The force had also claimed that the court of inquiry held by it had established cogent evidence against certain persons involved and accordingly, disciplinary action was directed against all the Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and four Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). "Administrative action against one officer and one other rank was also directed," Assam Rifles had told the court.
Accepting the contentions of the government and the paramilitary force, the court dismissed the plea saying it lacked merit.