The Telangana High Court on Thursday lashed out at Chief Secretary SK Joshi and other senior officials of the government, pointing out that they had filed contradictory affidavits under oath, over the issue of dues payable to the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).
The HC also pulled up Principal Secretary (Finance) K Ramakrishna Rao, TSRTC in-charge Managing Director Sunil Sharma, and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Lokesh Kumar. A division bench led by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, which was hearing the case, felt that the affidavits filed by the Finance Department were contradictory, and pointed out that making erroneous claims deliberately would attract contempt of court.
The court also dubbed the affidavits as 'vague and contradictory' about dues payable to the TSRTC. The court took explanations from the top bureaucrats, while going through the affidavits.
The Principal Secretary (Finance) informed the court that they had not properly 'examined' a first report which was submitted earlier. Criticising the official for this, the court noted that seeking an apology would not be enough for such an error.
Noting that he had not seen the 'court being taken for a ride' in 15 years of his service, the Chief Justice asked whether the officials were placing fudged financial figures and hiding the truth from the bench.
The bench also said that such actions would raise doubts on the credibility of officials.
Last week, while hearing the case, the court pointed to a committee report by the government which said that most of the main demands of the striking RTC employees, could be solved if the state government sanctioned 47 crore.
The court said that while the state was taking up projects worth thousands of crores of rupees, it could not spare Rs 47 crore for the lives of around 50,000 RTC employees.
Only 360 out of the over 48,000 striking employees of the TSRTC returned to work on Wednesday after the final deadline set by the Telangana government came to an end on Tuesday midnight.
This came after the state Cabinet, on November 2, decided to privatise 5,100 bus routes, further angering the employees. The employees have been on strike since October 5 to press for their demands, including that of the merger of the TSRTC with the government so that they are treated at par with other state government employees.
(With IANS inputs)