In a blow to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings pending against two directors of Durga Das Foundation (DDF) in the special CBI court here.
The High Court has not only stayed the summons issued by the CBI court (on August 20) to Atul Khanna and his father Brij Khanna but has also ordered a stay on the cognisance of the chargesheet,filed by the CBI,taken by the special CBI judge.
Orders were passed by the High Court on a joint appeal filed by the duo. Senior advocate R S Rai,appearing on behalf of the two,stated that the case was nothing
but baseless mudslinging by certain disgruntled
and vested interests with ill will and malice against the directors.
Rai added that the vested interests had colluded an unholy nexus with echelons of power and authority to harass Brij Khanna and his son. Rai minced no words in demanding strictures against the CBI sleuths for registering a baseless case against the two and defaming their reputation.
Of the several grounds taken,in an exhaustive appeal,the petitioners have submitted that the CBIs case is self- contradictory. For,in its case the CBI has claimed that Brij Khanna is a public servant and on the contrary failed to get prosecution sanction from the competent authority to prosecute the 82 years old.
Referring to the chargesheet submitted by the CBI,the lawyer argued that the CBI had sought sanction from Swami Harinaryananand who is chairman of Central Bharat Sevak Samaj (BSS) who refused to give an opinion on the matter.
Obtaining sanction to prosecute,the senior advocate argued,is compulsory to prosecute a public servant.
He added that in the present case Brij Khanna could not be termed a public servant within the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
By no stretch of imagination,office-bearers of BSS or DDF can be termed as public servants, reads the appeal filed in the High Court. The petition notes that the FIR does not reveal even an iota of an allegation pertaining to any misuse of grant during any year by the two directors.
The allegations of any personal gains qua either the petitioners family or any of the office-bearers of BSS or Durga Das Foundation Trust are not only slanderous but lack even an iota of truth, the petitioners have submitted.
The two schools the two directors run are Strawberry Fields Kindergarten and Strawberry World School.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet on July 26 against the DDF directors on charges of cheating,hatching a conspiracy and corrupt practices for allegedly constructing a school illegally on the land allotted for the purpose of cultural and social activities.
The complainant,Manpreet Sandhu,had alleged that the Chandigarh Administration had allowed DDF to increase the floor-area ratio of the school site at old rates.
In 2011,the CBI had booked Aul Khanna and Brij Khanna on charges of causing loss to the government exchequer. Following this,the CBI had conducted raids at the two schools.