AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday sentenced four serving IAS officers and one retired to varying terms of imprisonment holding them guilty of contempt for “wilful disobedience” of the court order of February 10, 2017.
Three other IAS officers, including Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das, were let off in the case as the charge against them has been dismissed.
The convicted IAS officers include Principal Finance Secretary Shamsher Singh Rawat, Chief Minister’s Additional Secretary Revu Mutyala Raju, SPS Nellore district Collector K V N Chakradhara Babu and former Collector M V Seshagiri Babu.
Mutyala Raju had also previously served as Collector of SPS Nellore district.
Retired IAS officer Manmohan Singh, who was the then Principal Secretary (Revenue) in 2017, has also been convicted in the case.
Justice Battu Devanand pronounced the order on a contempt petition filed an agriculturist Tallapaka Savitramma of SPS Nellore district.
Rawat and Singh have been sentenced to one month imprisonment while others have been sentenced to two weeks imprisonment.
A fine of Rs 1,000 has also been imposed on each of them.
Justice Devanand, however, ordered suspension of the sentence for a month to enable the convicted to go for an appeal, according to the petitioner’s lawyer C Vani Reddy.
Savitramma filed a writ petition in the High Court in 2017 stating that her land measuring three acres was resumed by the revenue authorities and allotted to the National Institute of Mental Health without any notice or payment of compensation.
In December 2016, the revenue authorities promised to pay compensation to her for the land and that was also reported to the Lokayukta, she said.
Justice A Rajasheker Reddy of the High Court, on February 10, 2017, ruled in favour of the petitioner and directed the revenue authorities concerned to pay compensation to her within three months.
In 2018, Savitramma filed a contempt case in the High Court after the revenue authorities failed to implement the court’s order.
In June this year, Justice Devanand, while hearing the contempt case, observed that from the material available on record, the revenue divisional officer had submitted bills to the accounts office on July 6, 2020 but they were not cleared till March 30, 2021.
“In the opinion of this court, nearly eight months delay occurred in the office of the Principal Accounts Officer in clearing the bills and making payment of compensation to the petitioner,” he had noted.
In August, the judge heard the arguments of the respondents and reserved judgment.
The verdict was delivered on Thursday.
The judge closed the case against the then Chief Commissioner of Land Administration Anil Chandra Punetha (since retired), then Joint Collector of SPS Nellore district A Md Imtiyaz, the local tahsildar and the deputy director of NIMH.
The case against incumbent Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das, who became a party to the case only because he held full additional charge of the Principal Finance Secretary post for a few days in February-March this year, was dismissed.