In a major development, the Hyderabad High Court quashed a criminal case on Friday against senior IAS officer B Sam Bob, which was filed by the CBI, with regard to YSRCP President YS Jaganmohan Reddy's disproportionate assets case.
Sam Bob was united Andhra Pradesh's Principal Secretary (industries and commerce), when Jagan's father, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, was the Chief Minister.
The CBI named Sam as an accused in the chargesheet pertaining to the Lepakshi Knowledge Hub land allotment case.
However, the IAS officer urged the court to quash the case against him, claiming that he merely discharged his duties.
The Deccan Chronicle reported that the petitioner also cited CrPC Section 197, which spells out that the state government needs to sanction the prosecution of a government servant for offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with the Centre's approval, to prosecute an All India Service officer for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The DC report adds that both the governments had refused the sanction for prosecution, with the Centre stating that the petitioner had not violated business rules.
Quashing the case against him, being heard in the CBI court, the Times of India quoted the HC saying, "If the sanction under the Act does not arrive to prosecute a bureaucrat, you cannot prosecute him after his retirement,"
Sam Bob recently retired as the Special Chief Secretary to Government (Transport, Roads and Buildings).
Earlier this year, tejecting the CBI plea to prosecute him, the Union Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had noted, "He had merely processed the Memorandum of Agreement under the Industrial Policy 2005-10 and submitted it for orders of the competent authority. Subsequently, the state Cabinet ratified the MoA."
"He (Sam Bob) provided adequate safeguards/clauses in the MoA to protect the government interests like resumption of land and cancellation of incentives in case of failure to set up the project. He circulated the draft MoA to all departments concerned for their views on each clause," the DoPT said.
"There is nothing to show on record that he had directly benefited the private party. On the basis of the records, including the investigation reports and other supporting documents, the state government's comments, advice of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and analysis of proposal in this department, the acts of omission and commission on part of Sam Bob did not appear to be malafide," the DoPT observed.