New Delhi: Odisha cadre IPS officer and former CBI interim director M Nageswara Rao was on Tuesday found guilty of contempt by Supreme Court for ordering the transfer of an officer investigating the sexual abuse of children at Bihar’s government-run shelter homes.
Rejecting his apology on Monday, the Court fined the officer Rs one lakh and, in an unusual action, asked him to sit in the corner of the Court till it winds up business for the day.
“We can send you to jail for up to 30 days,” the court said before accepting the Attorney General’s request for lenience. The director of prosecution of CBI S.B Ram was also found guilty of its contempt.
The Supreme Court also questioned why Rao was being represented by attorney general K.K. Venugopal. “Why should a contemnor be defended at government expenses?” the court asked.
“It’s not an error. It’s wilful disobedience,” a livid Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, rejecting Rao’s apology. During the last hearing, the Chief Justice had said “You have played with our orders. God help you,”.
Rao, who had taken the decisions during his tenure as the agency’s interim chief, had apologised to the top court on Monday, saying that he cannot even “dream” of violating its orders.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the officer had said he accepts his mistake of not seeking permission before transferring the officer probing the Muzaffarpur shelter homes case.
“I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I specially state I have not wilfully violated the order of this court as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing order of this court,” Rao’s affidavit read.
The top court had last Thursday held Mr Rao in contempt for moving out AK Sharma as part of the overnight mass transfer that followed the public feud between the CBI’s former chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.