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Court orders inspector's suspension

Special Correspondent

Bench vacates stay on show-cause-notice The stay order on show-cause notice was wholly uncalled for and vacated it

CHENNAI: Expressing shock at the continuation in service of an Inspector who was convicted and sentenced to two-year imprisonment in a corruption case, the First Bench of the Madras High Court has ordered his immediate suspension.

"It is preposterous and shocking that a police Inspector found guilty of corruption should be allowed to continue in service, even if he has filed an appeal against his conviction. To allow such a person to continue in service would demoralise the honest policemen and would be an offence against the whole society," said the Bench comprising Chief Justice Markandey Katju and Justice A. Kulasekaran. "We cannot understand as to how a person, who has been held guilty of corruption, can be allowed to continue in service. We cannot countenance any such practice or approve of it."

V. Natarajan was Inspector in the Prohibition and Enforcement wing here when he was caught receiving bribe from a wine shop in December 2001 by vigilance personnel. On June 30, 2004, the VII Additional Sessions Court convicted him on two counts and sentenced him to imprisonment for two years and one year respectively. He was also fined Rs. 1,000 for each sentence. He filed an appeal challenging the Sessions court order.

Show-cause notice

In September 2004, the Government issued a notice to Mr. Natarajan to show-cause as to why he should not be dismissed from service. However, on October 8, 2004, a single judge stayed the notice.

On Thursday the Judges said the stay order was wholly uncalled for. Vacating it, they observed, "The police is expected to protect the people and not to loot the people."

Ordering Mr. Natarajan's suspension, they said, "He shall not be reinstated until and unless his conviction by a criminal court is reversed on a criminal appeal." They also ordered departmental proceedings against him "since it is well settled that even if an employee is acquitted in a criminal case he can be punished in the departmental proceedings for the same charges."

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