IMA scam: Before transfer, IPS officer had flagged disparity in suspensions


Two days before her transfer as Karnataka home secretary to the post of director of the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation, senior IPS officer Roopa Moudgil raised questions over delay in the suspension of two IPS officers accused in the Rs 4,500 crore IMA scam probed by the CBI even as three non-IPS officers accused in the case were suspended in October.

Moudgil was transferred on December 31 in what was seen as a fallout of a spat with Hemanth Nimbalkar – an IPS officer accused in the IMA scam – over her alleged unauthorised interference last year in a tender for a Rs 620 crore Bengaluru safe city project. Nimbalkar, who headed the tendering committee of the Bengaluru city police in his capacity as the additional commissioner of police (administration), was also transferred on December 31 to the internal security division of the Karnataka police.

In a December 29, 2020 letter to Karnataka Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar (who retired on December 31), then Home Secretary Moudgil wrote, “DPAR (Services) has specifically written to ACS to Government in Home Department to draft and submit the disciplinary proceedings against Shri Hemant Nimbalkar, IPS and other police officers as per recommendation of the CBI. However, for months, the Home Department has failed to submit the major disciplinary proceedings to the DPAR (Services).

“While suspension and disciplinary action has been approved and issued for junior police officers, neither suspension nor disciplinary action has been taken by Home Department against Shri Hemant Nimbalkar, IPS, and another IPS officer.”

Both Moudgil and Nimbalkar are IG-rank officers of the Karnataka Police.

Nimbalkar and DIG-rank officer Ajay Hilori have been named by the CBI along with three junior officers – deputy superintendent E B Sridhar, police inspector M Ramesh and sub inspector P Gowrishankar.

In October 2020, the government ordered the suspension of the junior police officers but no action has been taken against the IPS officers so far. The disparity has been a subject of concern in the police force.

“The suspension of IPS officers is not in the hands of the home department but it is with the DPAR (Services) who have to recommend to the Central government,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajneesh Goel said when asked about Moudgil’s letter accusing the home department of inaction.

“In the case of suspension of IPS officers, DPAR (Services) has to write to the central Ministry of Home Affairs for suspension on the basis of communication from the state home department,” a former DPAR (Services) official said.
Nimbalkar has approached the Karnataka High Court challenging the CBI case against him on the grounds that his role in the CID Economic Offences Wing, which prepared the report on the schemes run by IMA, was to send the report prepared by junior officers to his seniors in the CID for approval.

The court has refused to stay the CBI investigation against the IPS officer but has directed the Karnataka government and the central probe agency not to resort to any coercive action against the official.

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