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Wednesday, September 9, 1998
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Affidavit on ED chief's transfer misleading: SC

NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (PTI) — The Supreme Court today described the Union Government’s affidavit justifying the transfer of Mr M.K. Bezbaruah from the Enforcement Directorate to the Delhi Government as "misleading" and criticised it for taking shelter behind a "misquoted judgement" to justify the transfer order.

A three-judge bench headed by Mr Justice S.P. Bharucha after perusing the affidavit expressed surprise that the government was justifying the transfer after "completely rewriting" an apex court judgement on how to insulate officials handling sensitive posts from the hazard of frequent transfers.

"The relevant words of the judgement are omitted. How can you do so. If this is not an attempt to mislead the court, then what is it? The sentence is completely re-written and that too by the government?" The bench observed in anguish.

Solicitor-General Santosh N. Hegde admitted the error on the part of the government but said Mr Bezbaruah was transferred on August 13 after the Delhi Government made a written request on August 10 which was processed and the Cabinet Committee on Appointments gave its approval.

However, Mr Bezbaruah has not yet joined the Delhi Government as Principal Secretary and Transport Commissioner and has requested continued employment with the central government, the Solicitor-General informed the court.

The court will continue to hear the matter tomorrow.

Mr Hegde informed the Bench, which was hearing the over Rs 1000 crore Indian Bank scam case, that "he (Bezbaruah) is not joining there (as Principal Secretary and Transport Commissioner to the Delhi Government) and is requesting for a suitable appointment in the Government of India."

Earlier, amicus curiae in the matter Anil Divan alleged the transfer weapon was used by the government to "oust an honest officer who was dealing with several sensitive FERA violation cases against VVIPs including Chandraswami, Ashok Jain and others."

"What was the hurry that a request from the Delhi Government was procured on August 11, processed in two days and approval of the Cabinet Committee on Appointments obtained and a transfer order passed on August 13," Mr Divan said.

Earlier, Mr Hegde said Mr Bezbaruah’s transfer had no bearing on the Indian Bank scam case being heard by the Bench and raised a preliminary objection that a collateral issue like this could not be raised during the hearing of the case.

Mr Divan refuted Mr Hegde’s objection and said the Enforcement Directorate was probing the FERA violation angle in the Indian Bank scam as there were certain transactions from the bank’s Singapore branch.

Mr Divan sought revocation of Mr Bezbaruah’s transfer and pleaded the court should restore the status quo prior to August 13, when the transfer order was made.

The court adjourned the matter till tomorrow as Mr Hegde sought time to seek instructions on facts behind the transfer. back

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