HC dismisses KAS officer’s petition on ‘sexual harassment’

HC dismisses KAS officer’s petition on ‘sexual harassment’

ACB resumes probe against her for ‘disproportionate assets’

KD NEWS SERVICE

SRINAGAR : The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has resumed its investigations into the allegations of disproportionate assets and other related complaints against a lady KAS officer Sheeba Inayat after her petition alleging sexual harassment by SP ACB North Kashmir was dismissed by the High Court.

Sheeba had approached the High Court following the probe started by the ACB against her for possessing disproportionate assets as against her known source of income.

In her petition, Sheeba, the then BDO Singhpora Pattan District Baramulla had alleged before the high court that the Enquiry officer, one DySP rank officer and SP ACB North Kashmir were harassing her since 2018.

In her petition, she had prayed that proceedings initiated against her by ACB in verification No. 09/2022 for possessing disproportionate assets are not as per laid down law and may be quashed.

The court had later passed an interim order in her petition, “..In the meantime, the respondents are directed not to undertake any further verification in respect of the complaint which is the subject matter of this petition and they shall also furnish the status report before this Court relating to the verification conducted so far.”

Accordingly a detailed status report was filed by the superintendent of police ACB North Kashmir before High Court in which it was submitted that the women KAS officer has accumulated property worth Crores of rupees within short span of her 10-years of service by indulging in ‘corrupt practices in connivance with a class IV official of CAPD department namely Mohammad Shafi Rather.

The ACB further said that for indulging in corruption she was also recently placed under suspension by the government for excess withdrawal of MGNREGA funds when she was posted in District Baramulla.

It was further submitted by the ACB that the preliminary probe conducted so far shows that her bank accounts have huge suspicious cash deposits and huge investments in Benami properties which are being thoroughly probed and instead of explaining source from which she raised these assets of crores of rupees and incurred huge expenditures on different heads that too without having any other legal known source of income except her salary, she resorted to false concocted allegations of sexual harassment against officers of ACB just to impede the investigations.

In its status report the ACB further conveyed that they had received about six different complaints against petitioner lady KAS officer and other officers/officials of RDD Block Singhpora with different allegations ranging from abuse of official position, embezzlement of the Government funds in MGNREGA, Swatch Bharat Mission, releasing payments without execution of works, taking bribe and commission for releasing payments under MGNREGA, diversion of government funds for intended purpose, working for some specific people, taking bribe through staff VLWs, GRS etc.

The complaints pertain to her postings in District Baramulla especially her posting as Assistant Director Food Baramulla, Block Development Officer Singhpora District Baramulla and her tenure as BDO Pattan Baramulla.

Sources referring to a CID report, told Kashmir Despatch that there were serious allegations of malpractices against Sheeba Inayat (KAS) that her activities have caused considerable loss to the public exchequer in connivance with one Mohammad Shafi Rather a class 4th employee of food department.

The ACB had also submitted a report before the court thereby conveying its action taken and the nature of complaints against the lady officer.

It was also conveyed by ACB a fresh credible information was received by the ACB on 30-05-2022 from a premier intelligence agency against Ms. Sheeba Inayat (KAS), again with serious and multiple allegations of abuse of official position, indulging in corruption/bribery, allegations of misappropriation of Govt. funds in the garb of execution of developmental works, causing loss to state exchequer & accumulation of disproportionate assets.

The special report received by ACB from CID J&K reads as: “That there are allegations of malpractices against Ms. Sheeba Inayat (KAS), BDO Pattan and her activities have caused considerable loss to the exchequer. a) The officer remained posted as Block Development Officer, Block Singhpora from 15 Mar, 2015 to 15 Oct, 2021 during her tenure she is alleged to have misappropriated government funds in the name of executing developmental works in her area of jurisdiction and this way earned huge sums of money.

b) While being posted in the Block, she came in contact with one Mohammad Shafi Rather son of Mohammad Sultan resident of Wanigam Payeen, Pattan who is working as a salesman in CAPD Department.

He is considered to be very close to the officer and his services were utilized by her in sale and purchase of land in the area. This way huge profits were made by the officer.

c) As per reports, thirty kanals of land from one Sant Singh have been purchased by the officer through a property dealer at Hartrath Singhpora (mutation of this land has not been done so far). Besides, the officer has purchased one more kanal of land at Singhpora.

The officer has reportedly constructed an approach road to this land under MGNREGA scheme and approximately rupees 2.80 Lakhs have been expended for the purpose out of government funds.

d) Reports further reveal that for the construction of a ground in the state land at Bhat Colony an amount of Rs. 46.00 Lakhs (government funds) has been earmarked.

So far Rs.26.00 Lakhs have been shown expended on earth filling of the ground, however, no major work is discernible at this place. The work was executed through Shabir Ahmad (Sarpanch Halqa Hartrath) and a major percentage of the amount has been allegedly shared by both the BDO and the Sarpanch.

There is no significance of the ground for the locals and it would only help a property dealer who runs a Private School adjacent to the ground in partnership with the said BDO.

e) The officer has also constructed a shopping complex near Degree college Baramulla. The corrupt practices by the officer and apparent patronage she is providing to her conduits is detrimental to government functioning.”

In its status report ACB submitted that there are Allegations of the huge Benami property in form of investments in plots, real estate and other business by the lady officer and her conduit Mohammad Shafi Rather which are being thoroughly probed and the lady has resorted to false allegations of sexual harassment to shield Mohammad Shafi also who is involved in two FIRs already registered against him at Anti corruption Bureau and Crime branch Jammu and Kashmir and a separate probe for possessing assets disproportionate to his legal source of income in Verification No. 06/2022.

During the course of hearing, additional advocate general Asifa Padroo, the counsel for ACB strongly pleaded that the petitioner has no evidence of whatsoever she is alleging as she had never ever been called to ACB office nor any officer visited her or called her through any medium and allegations are totally false, baseless and made with intent to sensationalize the case and to evade the investigation process launched against her.

Meanwhile during the hearing of the case the counsel for the petitioner failed to present any credible evidence in support of allegations levelled by his client petitioner lady KAS officer before the Hon’ble court.

On the first hearing of the matter, the court after listening to the arguments of both sides reserved its judgment on 30-09-2022 and finally pronounced its order on 17-11-2022.

In its concluding Para’s of the order the Hon’ble court observed: “…The instant petition, when looked from all angles, requires and demands full dress trial and examination of facts by this Court as if it is in appeal and acting as an appellate court and to draw its own conclusion vis-à-vis impugned FIR, complaint and proceedings emanating therefrom. This is not the aim and objective of provisions of Section 482 Cr. P.C. more particularly when petition on hand does not unveil any ground much less cogent or material one, to indicate that the inherent powers are to be exercised to prevent abuse of process of law and to secure ends of justice. In that view of matter, impugned FIR does not call for any interference qua petitioner and as a consequence of which, petition on hand is liable to be dismissed.”

And finally the bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul observed: “…For the reasons discussed above, the instant petition is without any merit and is, accordingly, dismissed with connected CM(s). Interim direction, if any, shall stand vacated. ”

Sources said that ACB has already shared a detailed factual report before J&K General Administration Department wherein it has been conveyed that there are many corruption related complaints against the women KAS officer Sheeba Inayat and in order to obstruct the probe into these allegations she filed a false and concocted case against the officers of ACB.

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