In what comes as a huge relief for Tamil Nadu DGP TK Rajendran, the Madras High Court has upheld the state's decision to reappoint the officer to the top post. The court further dismissed the demand for a CBI enquiry, stating that the case does not warrant it.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Madurai-based trade unioninst K Kathiresan against DGP Rajendran's promotion. The petition had demanded the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe his alleged involvement in the gutkha scam, which reportedly took place during his tenure as Commissioner of Police, Chennai city between October 2015 and September 2016.
The petitioner alleged that the Income Tax department conducted searches on a gutkha manufacturing company in Chennai last year and seized incriminating documents that revealed payment of huge amount of bribe to a minister, senior police officers and others.
Kathiresan argued that allowing Rajendran to head the police force in the state would not allow the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to investigate the matter properly. The DGP was promoted just hours before he was supposed to retire on June 30. The move had evoked widespread criticism.
The court has, however, said that the state had done the right thing. The Bench headed by Justice KK Sashidharan and GR Swaminathan stated that, "The entries made in the records seized from the gutkha manufacturer by the Income Tax Department are not sufficient to deny appointment to the fifth respondent (Rajendran) as Head of the Police Force."
The court further added, "The case on hand does not warrant transfer of enquiry/investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation."
The bench, however, did direct the state government to appoint a Vigilance Commissioner with independent charge and professional independence to head the state vigilance commission. It stressed that the Commissioner should not be associated with any other department and in particular to the Home department under which the DGP functions. A deadline of two weeks has been given for the same.
The Principal Director of Investigation, Income Tax Department has further been directed to provide the incriminating material from the gutkha manufacturer to the Vigilance Director for further action to be taken.