GUWAHATI, Oct 15 - In a significant judgment, the Gauhati High Court today directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry against the Chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission Dr Rakesh Paul and his kith and kin, including his wife Sunanda Paul and brother Rajeev Paul, in the alleged disproportionate assets case.
The driver of the APSC Chairman is also to be investigated, the Court said.
However, the High Court made it clear that the CBI shall not arrest Rakesh Paul during the preliminary inquiry but he can be interrogated and upon completion of the investigation the CBI agency shall submit a report to the Court.
The Court was, apparently, not satisfied with the affidavit filed by Rakesh Paul in reply to the affidavit of Mukul Saikia, Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, wherein details of the assets of the aforementioned persons were specified.
Senior advocates and amicus curiae PK Tiwari and Bhaskar Dev Konwar contended that only a preliminary inquiry by the CBI will restore the confidence upon a Constitutional post like that of the APSC Chairman.
Further, it was submitted that no prejudice would be caused to the accused as he would have full opportunity to rebut the allegations of corruption without there being any threat of arrest.
D Saikia and S Dutta, counsels appearing for APSC and the Chairman, submitted that it is only the Supreme Court who can inquire or remove the Chairman under Article 317 of the Constitution of India, read with Article 145, and proper explanation have been given in regard to the properties held by Rakesh Paul and his family members and that no reliance can be placed on the affidavit filed by Mukul Saikia.
Advocate General of Assam AC Buragohain submitted that already the Chief Minister of Assam has directed for initiation of a preliminary inquiry against the APSC Chairman.
The Court also noted that the second affidavit filed by Mukul Saikia is not satisfactory who appears to be acting under pressure and therefore he is seeking transfer to another place, which is weird. Accordingly, after perusal of the affidavits filed by the SP, the Court observed that it is not desirable to allow preliminary inquiry by him.