Suspended Andhra IPS officer reinstated on retirement day

 andhrapradesh | Written by : IANS Updated: Fri, May 31, 2024, 12:12 PM

Amaravati, May 31 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s senior IPS officer A.B. Venkateswara Rao was reinstated in service on the day when he is due for retirement on attaining the age of superannuation.

Chief Secretary K.S. Jawahar Reddy on Friday issued orders to take back Venkateswara Rao into service. Following the orders, the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1989 batch was posted as Commissioner, Printing and Stationery. This will pave the way for his retirement in service.

The official met the Chief Secretary on Thursday and sought a posting in the wake of the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s refusal to stay the Central Administrative Tribunal’s recent order to reinstate him into service with all pay and allowances, along with other consequential benefits.

A division bench observed that keeping in view the fact that the IPS officer is retiring on May 31, an interim order to suspend the CAT ruling might cause him great hardship when compared to the petitioner (State). However, the court made it clear that Venkateswara Rao’s reinstatement would not preclude the State from proceeding with criminal action.

Venkateswar Rao, who served as the state intelligence chief during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime, had been under suspension since February 8, 2020.

A few months after the YSR Congress party came to power in the state, he was suspended on charges of procuring security-related equipment like aerostat and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Israel during his tenure as intelligence chief without following rules.

Following an order from the Supreme Court in April 2022, that an All India Service officer cannot be kept under suspension for more than two years, Rao was reinstated in May 2022.

The state government had posted him as Commissioner of Printing and Stationery. However, a few days later he was suspended on the ground that he could not continue in the service since the investigation of the criminal charge against him had been pending and there was a likelihood of him influencing the witnesses.

Rao had challenged his suspension in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

After a prolonged hearing of arguments, the CAT (Hyderabad branch) on May 8, 2024, revoked his suspension. It ruled that an officer cannot be suspended twice on the same grounds and directed the government to reinstate Rao into service with all pay and allowances along with other consequential benefits.

However, the state government on May 21 approached the High Court challenging CAT's order. It argued that the CAT order was vitiated by errors of law and certain findings that were perverse and contrary to records.