Government reviews suspension of ACP on corruption charges within 6 weeks

In a minor relief to suspended Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sujata Patil, who was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last year for allegedly taking bribes, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) in a recent order I have asked the state. The government will review his suspension in the next six weeks. In his petition before the tribunal, Patil’s counsel had argued that even though nine months have elapsed since his suspension, neither a charge sheet has been filed against him by the ACB nor a departmental inquiry has been initiated by the department.

On October 8 last year, ACP Patil of Meghwadi division was arrested by the ACB in Jogeshwari for taking action against trespassers for allegedly taking Rs 40,000 from a warehouse owner. He was arrested by the ACB and later released on bail. Later, in October, the Maharashtra government suspended him. A high-profile officer, Patil had been in the news in the past for a poem she wrote condemning the alleged vandalism of the Amar Jawan Jyoti during the Azad Maidan riots in 2012. He also received regular media coverage for fasting during the month of Ramadan. every year.

Patil filed two applications before MAT. One was related to his arrest a month before his transfer to Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) Police Commissionerate, while the other application was against his suspension. On the issue of his suspension, the Tribunal observed, “As far as the challenge to the suspension order dated 29.10. No criminal case (Anti-Corruption Case) nor DE is initiated by the department.

The Tribunal further said, “..After the expiry of a period of about 9/10 months from the date of suspension, the Respondent (Government of Maharashtra) is required to review the suspension with reference to the policy decision taken by the Government reflected in the GR dated 14.10.2011 which inter alia provides for periodic review of Government servants suspended on account of registration of criminal offence.The Tribunal directed the Government to take necessary steps within a period of six weeks.

The tribunal, however, rejected another application challenging the transfer of Patil from Meghwadi division to MBVV commissionerate in Mumbai on the ground that transfer was necessitated in view of the serious default report against him. His transfer was recommended by the Police Establishment Board which was approved by the then CM.