NEW DELHI: In a major setback for one of Karnataka's most decorated police officers Shankar Bidari, the Karnataka High Court on Friday struck down his appointment as the state DGP. In a scathing verdict, the court described Bidari as 'worse than Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi' for alleged atrocities committed by the Special Task Force led by him during the hunt to nab smuggler Veerappan.
Dismissing as "without merit and substance", petitions by the government and Bidari, challenging the CAT order, the division bench headed by Justice N Kumar held his empanelment by the UPSC and consequent appointment as "void and illegal."
Upholding the verdict of Central Administrative Tribunal the court said "in the facts of the case, we cannot find any infirmity in the said decision. It is just".
It struck down Bidari's contentions "absolving himself of the responsibility" of atrocities by stating he was only Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to nab Veerappan and not "omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi."
"Though he was not one of them, if what the two women (tribals) have said in their affidavit is true, he is worse than them" (Saddam Hussain and Muamar Gadaffi),the court said in its acerbic observations.
Shankar Bidari's appointment was challenged by another DGP AR Infant who is one year senior to Bidari but was bypassed. Infant had alleged that Bidari was despite the black mark on his service record related to atrocities committed during his stint as the head of the task force to nab Veerappan more than 20yrs ago.
The Human Rights Commission had also filed complaints regarding the sexual & physical assault of tribal women in the area. The Central Administrative Tribunal had upheld AR Infant's case. Bidari and the govt had challenged this in the High Court.
The court directed the government should relieve Bidari forthwith and appoint A R Infant in his place. "Otherwise they are answerable to the public of the state".
The state home minister, R Ashok, has, however, declared that the government will approach the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict. "The appointment of the DGP comes under the state government. We have told our advocate general to appeal in the Supreme Court."
(With additional information from PTI)