Govt not to challenge high court order to quash FIR against IAS officer

Does U-turn after allowing filing of SLP against Shamla Iqbal

Govt not to challenge high court order to quash FIR against IAS officer

Three months after according sanction to file a special leave petition (SLP) against IAS officer Shamla Iqbal, the government has done a U-turn by deciding not to appeal against the high court’s decision to quash the FIR.

The Lokayukta had registered a case against the IAS officer for irregularities in the implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Without giving any reasons, the government sent an emergent communication on not filing the SLP.

The Lokayukta police had registered a case against Shamla and others in connection with the irregularities in supplying food to children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme. The Lokayukta police subsequently registered another FIR over assets disproportionate to the IAS officer’s known sources of income.

After the Lokayukta police completed the investigation and were waiting for the order on sanction for prosecution to file the charge sheet, Shamla challenged the FIRs and the Karnataka High Court quashed the FIR over procedural lapses on October 30, 2015.

The special public prosecutor for the Lokayukta police recommended the filing of the SLP and the legal cell of the Lokayukta forwarded the proposal to the government in November 2015. Sitting over the file for over an year, the government accorded the sanction to file the special leave petition in December 2016.

The copy of the proceedings available with DH shows the government had directed the Lokayukta police to provide certified copies related to the case to the advocate on record in the Supreme Court V N Raghupathy.

However, in the proceedings held on March 3, 2017, the government withdrew its earlier sanction with immediate effect.

A senior official of the Lokayukta said the government had not provided any reason for the sudden U-turn.

The Lokayukta police had conducted searches in connection with the case in March 2012.

Tested at labs

The food samples collected from anganwadi centres were sent for analysis to three laboratories – Pristine Laboratories in Kodigehalli, Bengaluru, Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysuru and National Institution of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

Poor quality food

After the investigation, the Lokayukta police had sought the sanction for prosecuting Shamla, who was then director of the Women and Child Development, ICDS joint director Usha Patwari and others, including Chennai-based company Cristy Friedgram Industries, which had got the tender to supply nutritious food to the anganwadis.

The final report of the Lokayukta police said the food samples collected from anganwadis contained coliform bacteria and certain dangerous chemicals, harmful to expectant and lactating mothers. The government is yet to accord sanction to prosecute the accused in the case.

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