Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran has held that the FIR registered by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi alleging collusion between Central government functionaries and Reliance Industries Limited was illegal, and that the government and affected parties could approach the court to get the FIR quashed.
Delhi or any other state, he has said in his opinion to the government, doesn’t have jurisdiction in the matter as gas pricing falls under the Centre.
The FIR was registered in “great haste”, Parasaran has added.
“An injunction can be sought for by the Central Government restraining the Delhi Government and the Anti Corruption Branch Delhi from further proceeding with the investigation pursuant to the registration of the FIR No 17/2014 which is ex facie illegal and without jurisdiction.
Alternatively, the affected parties can approach either the Supreme Court directly under Article 32 seeking for quashing of the FIR as it involves not only their fundamental rights but important constitutional questions or file petitions under section 482 of the CrPC before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court for quashing the FIR,” Parasaran has said.
Reacting to the development, Kejriwal tweeted, “In how many FIRs till now, since Independence, opinion of solicitor general sought? And who has sought the opinion?”
Advising that the government approach the court, the Solicitor General has told the Centre not to urge the Lt Governor to treat the FIR as illegal. “Only the Courts can declare the FIR as illegal or non-est or void or set it aside”, Parasaran has categorically said.
The Centre asking the LG to do so, the opinion says, “would lead to more complications because the power of the Lt Governor in interfering in a matter like this and taking a decision mandating the police to treat an FIR as non-est could again be the subject matter of another PIL which would unnecessarily complicate the situation rather than providing a solution. Already the allegation is that the Executive interfered in this matter for directing the registration of the FIR in great haste and the same allegation should again not be made now for closure of the FIR. Therefore in my view, only legal remedies have to be resorted to as expeditiously as possible considering the fallout in the matter and also important constitutional implications which the matter has given rise to”.
Early this year, the short-lived Kejriwal government had filed the FIR against Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, former petroleum minister Murli Deora, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and former director-general of hydrocarbons V K Sibal alleging their involvement in corruption on the issue of hike in gas prices. The FIR was registered on the complaint of former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian, former petroleum secretary E A S Sarma, former Navy chief Admiral R H Tahiliani, among others.
Pointing out that the allegations contained in the complaint had earlier been made before the Supreme Court, Parasaran has said that it was “nothing but a virtual repetition of the contents of a PIL filed by Common Cause which is pending in the Supreme Court”.
He has also said that the lodging of the FIR “at the instance of the Delhi Government based on a complaint made to the former Chief Minister and the consequent registration of the FIR” raises “serious issues of probity” as well as involves “larger questions of federal nature”.