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SC allows Gujarat to accept DGP PP Pandey's offer to step down

Gujarat government was on Monday allowed by the Supreme Court to accept the offer of P P Pandey, a 1980 batch Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who is on an extension until April 30, to relinquish the posts of Director General (DGP) and Inspector General of police (IGP) forthwith.

The court was hearing a plea of former top cop Julio Francis Ribeiro seeking a direction for removal of Pandey on the grounds including that CBI had filed charge sheet against him and others in the case of alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan. He had also challenged Pandey's appointment and extension as DGP and IGP.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, that the top police officer has himself written a letter expressing a willingness to step down forthwith "in order to put an end to all controversies".

"In view of the determination of the state government, we are of the view that the main petition has been rendered infructuous," the bench said.

At the outset, the ASG submitted that the 1980-cadre IPS officer, who was to retire on January 31, was granted an extension for three months by the Centre and he should be "allowed to retire peacefully".

Referring to the past developments, he alleged that it was the same case in which the then central government (UPA) had interfered and changed the contents of CBI's affidavits within a span of 10 days.

"Please do not be party to something which was not on the record before this court," Mehta said, adding that a charge sheet has only been filed by the CBI and not by the state police and moreover, charges have not been framed and there was no question of him influencing the trial.

He said the allegations in the petition have been made to "malign the state on the issue of the extension given to Pandey which was given keeping in mind the exercise undertaken for recruitment of 17,000 police personnel in the state".

The ASG said Pandey was the second senior-most police officer after PC Thakur, who was taken on central deputation on April 15 last year and was given the charge of DGP and IGP.

Pandey, who was to superannuate on January 30, was appointed when the state's budget session was scheduled in which an amendment to existing liquor prohibition Act was to be tabled, he said, adding that the 'Patidar' reservation agitation also revived then.

The court, however, asked the state to accept the offer of Pandey to relinquish the office forthwith.
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