SC restrains Ramasundaram from discharging duty in the agency
New Delhi : CBI Director Ranjit Sinha’s tearing hurry on Thursday in the appointment of Archana Ramasundaram to the second top post in the agency as additional director has landed her in double trouble.
The Supreme Court on Friday told the 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer not to function in the new post, a day after the Tamil Nadu Government suspended her for joining the agency without getting formally relieved by it.
On its last day of functioning before the summer vacation, the Apex Court found prima facie weight in the petition by senior journalist and anti-corruption crusader Vineet Narain that Ramasundaram’s appointment was in breach of the selection process under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act governing the CBI.
In an earlier hearing, the Apex Court had sent notices to the Centre and Ramasundaram on Narain’s petition. The judges were surprised and offended by the way the government rushed through her appointment.
The controversy was already raging over the past few weeks over the CBI chief pushing for her. Several opposition parties pointed out that she was close to DMK chief M Karunanidhi and the agency she might be joining was probing the 2G scam in which Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and his party’s Dalit leader A Raja were the main accused.
Archana’s husband S Ramasundaram, also considered close to Karunanidhi, took voluntary retirement as PWD secretary after Jayalalitha’s AIADMK came to power.
Accepting that she has not been recommended by the selection committee, the 4-judge bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha ruled: “We restrain the respondent (Ramasundaram) from functioning as additional director until the next date of hearing.” It fixed July 14 for the next hearing.
“Having considered the provisions in DSPE Act with regard to the appointment of the officers above the level of superintendent of police, we find the petitioner has been able to make out a strong prima facie case,” said the Bench which also included Justices AK Patnaik, Justice KS Radhakrishnan and SS Nijjar.
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the court that he would produce the entire record of the process of appointment of Ramasundaram to satisfy it. Senior counsel K K Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that she had been already placed under suspension by the Tamil Nadu government for irregularity in her appointment.
Chief Justice Lodha asked the Solicitor General: “Is it a fact that the selection committee has recommended just one name? Is it a fact that the name of the officer appointed was not recommended by the Committee?”
The court said the government has to accept the scheme of the law and the officer recommended by the selection committee has to be appointed.