IPS officers’ association is miffed at the way 2006 batch IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre — R Rajamarthandan was suspended and arrested on the charge of giving away “classified” information to an RTI applicant. The Association said, the "action taken against him (the IPS officer) is disproportionately high and harsher than the usual response in such cases”. The IPS officer, who was working as the special superintendent of police (SSP) in the CID and had also handled probe in a number of sensitive cases including much-talked about Louis Berger bribery case, was charged with…giving away “classified” information while responding to an RTI application inquiring about the sensational Silapathar case where workers from a Bengali Hindu organization ransacked the office of All Assam Students Union’s (AASU) branch office, triggering tension between two communities. The information through RTI was sought by a member of the same organization that was involved in the attack. The arrested IPS officer, however, argued that he did nothing wrong as the information he had provided, was permissible under the RTI Act.
Significantly, the complaint against Rajamarthandan was lodged by his own senior in the state CID, also an IPS officer. Rajamarthandan was first suspended and after two days, he was arrested.
IPS (Central) Association, the apex organization of the IPS officers, in a letter to Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay, said that the “accused officer holds a reputation of being honest and hardworking,” and the “allegations do not indicate corruption, moral turpitude or heinous offence".
“The circumstances do not indicate that Section 41A notice could not have served the purpose”, the letter written by the IPS body’s secretary PV Rama Sastry said. In fact, the section under which the officer was booked is of severe in nature, with the maximum punishment being seven years of imprisonment.
Terming the action against the officer “disproportionately high and harsher than the usual response in such cases”, the IPS Association’s letter further added: “If such examples recur and slowly become a norm, it will put a question mark on our ability to handle the power of arrest and treatment of officers of the service, which will indeed be against the best interests of the service”.
The Association then advocated handing over the case to the CBI, as the complainant himself was a senior IPS officer in the state. “It has been reported that the complainant is a senior IPS officer of the CID. As a senior officer of the premier investigating agency of the State has taken a position in the matter, principles of natural justice warrant that the investigation may be entrusted to the CBI which will be in a position to take a dispassionate view”, the letter to state DGP added.
The Association also said that state may consider recommending the inter-state transfer of the officer until the legal processes against him are not completed or for a minimum period of three years.
Rajamarthandan, 45, originally hails from Tamil Nadu. He did MBBS before getting selected in civl services and allotted Indian Police Service.