Patna: An IAS officer has lodged a complaint against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and several other top officials for allegedly falsely framing him in a recruitment examination scam in 2017.
On Saturday, Sudhir Kumar, a 1988 batch IAS officer, had reached the SC/ST police station in Patna to file an FIR against the CM and other officials. However, even after waiting for four hours, no FIR was registered by the police.
“I went to the police station at 12 noon. The police officer in charge made me wait for four hours but did not lodge the FIR. He said that my FIR was written in English and that he would have to study it. He, however, did give me a stamped and signed copy of my complaint,” Kumar told ThePrint.
The IAS officer had spent three years in jail after being named in the 2017 Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) scam. He was granted bail last year.
While Kumar was not forthcoming about the FIR, he hinted that it was related to fraud and for manufacturing doctored evidence against him.
“I tried to lodge this FIR earlier at another police station in Patna on 5 March this year. They assured me that they would lodge it soon but never did,” he added.
The officer, who is a member of the revenue board at present, further hinted that besides the CM, the complaint also named Manu Maharaj, former Senior Superintendent of Police in Patna.
A minister, who wished to remain unnamed, told ThePrint that a meeting was held at the Chief Minister’s Officer to evaluate the legal ramifications of Kumar’s complaint. However, no official response has been received by the Bihar government.
An official from the CMO, meanwhile, said that matters related to Kumar are in the court and the office is not supposed to comment on matters that are sub judice.
“Whatever charges he has levelled will be in the court,” he told ThePrint.
Kumar was the chairman of the BSSC, which recruits grade 3 employees in Bihar, when the recruitment exam paper was leaked in 2017.
A special team led by then SSP Maharaj found that the leak originated from the IAS officer’s house and he along with three of his relatives was arrested.
He was released on bail in October last year by the Supreme Court and the Bihar government then reinstated him as a member of the revenue board, which is considered a shunting yard for IAS officers who are about to retire.
The case against him is yet to go to trial in a lower court.
Meanwhile, ThePrint spoke to several lawyers who wondered why Kumar wants to embarrass the CM with an FIR.
“A case under the SC/ST Act in only viable if Sudhir Kumar can prove that CM had abused him by taking the name of his caste (Kumar is a Dalit). What evidence he has is unclear. So far the charges he has made are oral,” said Patna High Court lawyer Arvind Ujwal. Only cases under the SC/ST Act are registered at the SC/ST police station in Patna.
Another lawyer, who wished to remain unnamed, pointed out that Kumar should have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) with his grievances.
However, former chief secretary V.S. Dubey disagreed and said that the IAS officer should have taken it up with the government.
“CAT only looks after grievances related to services, not criminal charges. Sudhir Kumar has violated the All India Service Conduct code, which has been adopted from the British raj. The code advocates that all serving officers should approach the higher authority with their grievances. Kumar should have approached the CM, governor or even the Union government for redress. If he had not received any response, he then could have sought permission to go to Court,” Dubey told ThePrint.
Kumar could also approach the Chief Judicial Magistrate with his complaint at a later stage.
Before he was arrested in 2017, Kumar held several key posts in Bihar including the district magistrate of Patna.
A high-ranking officer when Jitan Ram Manjhi was CM, Kumar’s inability to register an FIR has also created political ripples.
“A senior officer like Sudhir Kumar is unable to lodge a FIR in Bihar. One can imagine what the common man faces,” Shakti Yadav, spokesperson of the RJD, told ThePrint.