Andhra: Senior IPS officer Venkateswara Rao takes charge as Commissioner on the day of his retirement

For nearly five years, senior IPS officer Venkateswara Rao has been fighting court battles against his suspension order.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 31, 2024 | 6:42 PM Updated May 31, 2024 | 6:42 PM

Senior IPS officer in Andhra reinstated

Senior IPS officer AB Venkateswara Rao was reinstated by the Andhra Pradesh government on Friday, 31 May, on the day of his retirement.

The state government issued an order appointing him as the Commissioner of the Printing, Stationery and Stores Purchase Department.

The state government issued the order after direction to this effect by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on 8 May, which quashed the suspension order against him. The Andhra Pradesh High Court had said it cannot issue a stay order on CAT’s direction.

After the order of reinstatement was issued by Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy, Venkateswara Rao assumed charge on Friday, 31 May.

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Why was Venkateswara Rao suspended? 

For nearly five years now, Venkateswara Rao has been fighting court battles against his suspension order. After his retirement, the petition of the state government against the lifting of his suspension by the CAT will come up for hearing on 20 June in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

A 1989 batch IPS officer, Venkateswara Rao said it was unfortunate that he had to resume duty on the day of his retirement and that he could not speak on the controversial issues which surrounded him as he was in government service now.

Venkateswara Rao met the Chief Secretary on Thursday, 30 May, and sought a posting order, given the CAT’s direction to reinstate him and the HC’s refusal to stay the CAT’s order.

Venkateswara Rao was suspended in February 2020 per Rule 3(1) of the All-India Service (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1969 for allegedly resorting to irregularities in the procurement of equipment for anti-Naxalite operations when he was the chief of the Intelligence Department when the TDP was in power.

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Petition in Supreme Court

Venkateswara Rao challenged the suspension order in the High Court and got an order in his favour in May 2020. However, the state government then filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the HC’s orders.

The Supreme Court too gave an order in Venkateswara Rao’s favour in April 2022. The apex court said that the period of his suspension cannot exceed two years as per the service rules of All India Service officers.

The state government then lifted his suspension order with retrospective effect from February 2022 and posted him as Commissioner of Printing, Stationery and Stores Purchase Department.

But two weeks later, the state government again suspended him for “influencing witnesses” in the cases already filed against him. The government defended its decision stating that he was facing serious corruption charges.

The state government had also mentioned that since it already recommended to the Centre to dismiss him from service, his continuance in service would embarrass him in the discharge of his duties.

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(Edited by Neena)