VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court Thursday sentenced four IAS officers and a retired IAS officer to varying terms of imprisonment and also imposed fines on them for contempt of court. The court, however, suspended the implementation of the orders for a month to enable them to go for an appeal against its order.
The court sentenced former IAS officer Manmohan Singh, who was the principal secretary (revenue) in 2017, to four weeks of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000. The serving officers who were sentenced are principal secretary (finance) Shamsher Singh Rawat (one month imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine), former collector of Nellore district Revu Muthyala Raju (two weeks imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine), another former collector of Nellore MV Seshagiri Babu and the present collector NV Chakradhar (two weeks imprisonment each and Rs 2,000 fine). The case pertains to a petition filed by a farmer from Erragunta in Venkatachalam mandal of Nellore district, Tallapaka Savitramma, in 2017 seeking compensation for her land which was taken over by the government.
The government proposed to set up National Institute of Mental Health in Nellore district and accordingly, the then district collector handed over 10 acres of land to the NIMH authorities. The three acre land of Savitramma was part of the 10 acre land handed over to the NIMH. As no compensation was paid to her, Savitramma filed the petition in 2017.
Though the High Court directed the government to pay the compensation amount to the petitioner, the orders were not implemented following which Savitramma filed a contempt petition in 2018. Several officers including Manmohan Singh, then Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) Anil Chandra Punetha and the RDOs and tahsildar were made as respondents.
The court asked the respondents to file their counters and the case came for hearing before Justice B Devanand. Meanwhile, the compensation amount was paid to Savitramma on March 3 this year.Justice Battu Devanand said the compensation was paid to the petitioner four years after the contempt petition. The court felt that it was a fit case for punishment for the contempt of court. The case against the other officers including then CCLA Anil Chandra Punetha and the local tahsildar was dismissed.