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Two Forest officers dismissed, IFS officer suspended

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Srinagar: The Department of Forests, Ecology and Environment Thursday dismissed from service a Range Officer and a Forester for their alleged involvement in Common Entrance Test scam of year 2012.

As per the order of dismissal issued in this regard by Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Ecology and Environment, Sanjeev Verma, Range Officer-II, the then WildLife Warden, Kishtwar, Altaf Hussain Shah, and DDR Forester, the then In-charge DFO Social Forestry, Kupwara, Mohammed Amin Mir had been found involved in the common Entrance Test 2012 scam following which a case FIR No. 24 of 2013 was lodged against the officers by the Crime Branch, Kashmir.

Verma in his order quoted Crime Branch, Kashmir’s communication of May 12, 2014 asserting that the then, Joint Director, Forest Protection Force (FPF) Kashmir IFS Javed Ahmed Andrabi was appointed as inquiry officer to enquire into the charges leveled against these two officers.

“The inquiry officers have provisionally concluded the penalty of ‘censure’ be imposed on the accused officers regarding their unauthorized absence from the duties pending outcome of criminal proceedings before the Anti Corruption Court in Srinagar,” Verma’s order quoted the CBK communication as saying.

Both the officers also remained under judicial custody from May 03, 2018 to May 17, 2018 of Crime Branch, Kashmir in the case Crime Branch, Kashmir V/s Mushtaq Ahmed Peer and others.

On the basis of a report from the Crime Branch and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K, then Incharge DFO Marwah, Altaf Hussain Shah and then Incharge Project Officer LAWDA Mohammed Amin were also placed under suspension.

The Thursday’s order said the law is “clear that the convicted persons, even if the sentence (conviction) has been suspended by the appellate court, can be terminated from the service on criminal charges”.

Pertinently, Shah has retired from the active service on October 31, 2019 while Mir is retiring on July 03, 2024.

“The Court of Special Judge Anti Corruption Srinagar on April 25, 2014 has convicted them among others with rigorous imprisonment. Therefore, the services of the employees are to be dismissed from the date of conviction (April 25, 2018) in terms of provisions laid down in the Article 311 of the Constitution of India,” reads the dismissal order.

Meanwhile, the government has placed under suspension the DFO Forest Division Jammu Alok Kumar Maurya (IFS) over alleged dereliction of duties and subsequent failure in compliance of the High Court’s directions vis-à-vis encroachment of Forest Land.

A government order says that Maurya has faltered in performing his legitimate duties as Divisional Forest Officer, for retrieving and safeguarding the encroached forest lands, including retrieval and restoration of the forest lands from the clutches of the identified encroachers.

“Divisional Forest Officer (Maurya) is placed under suspension for dereliction of duties and for his abject failure to comply with the directions of J&K High Court. The suspension shall be with immediate effect,” says the order.

It said during the period of his suspension, Maurya shall remain attached with the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & HoFF, J&K.

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