Saturday, December 2, 2023

Graft, trafficking: No court relief for former IFS officer

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has refused to quash the government’s sanction order to try a former ICCR director general and IFS officer in a case of alleged corruption and trafficking of eight people to Germany in 2005.

Justice V.P. Vaish while observing that the trial is pending since 2006 asked the trial court to expedite the trial as early as possible.

The order was issued Wednesday.

Rakesh Kumar, former director general (DG) of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and a former Indian Foreign Services (IFS) officer, had challenged the trial court’s 2013 January order which dismissed his plea against the sanction order to prosecute him.

He contended that the sanction was given by Debnath Shaw, then joint secretary (Cypher, NGO and Vigilance)and Chief Vigilance Officer, who was not competent to grant sanction as the competent authority was the ministry of external affairs.

The CBI, however, strongly refuted the submissions saying the sanction order was passed by a competent authority.

Dismissing Kumar’s plea, the court held that omission in grant of sanction will not affect the case unless there is failure of justice by the court.

The court said: “It is a settled law that any error, omission or irregularity in the grant of sanction will not affect any finding, sentence or order passed by a competent court unless in the opinion of the court a failure of justice has been occasioned.”

Justice Vaish in a recent judgment also relied on the Supreme Court’s order which said that it is not appropriate to quash the proceedings on the ground of invalidity of the sanction during mid-course of the trial proceedings.

CBI had alleged that Kumar, as an officer of IFS had in 2005 facilitated the empanelling of a bogus cultural group “Mehak Punjab Di” to illegally traffic eight people to Berlin.

Kumar, a 1972 batch IFS officer had approved a team of 15 members, comprising inexperienced and untrained Punjabi folk dancers, to Germany on government sponsorship to facilitate trafficking.

The trial court June 8, 2012 had ordered framing of charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption, cheating, forgery, and using forged documents against Kumar along with three others.

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