Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily’s directive to his ministry to file a petition seeking quashing of an FIR registered by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi over alleged collusion between Central government functionaries, Moily, and Reliance Industries Limited has hit a roadblock.
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran has told the government that “only the affected parties”, and not the Centre, can approach the court to get the FIR quashed.
In his latest opinion, Parasaran said, “It would not be appropriate for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas to file a petition for quashing the FIR under Section 482 CrPC.”
The ministry had sought the SG’s opinion after Moily’s directive to file the petition.
Earlier this year, when the AAP was in power in Delhi, the Kejriwal-led government had filed a FIR against 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.
In his latest opinion, the SG has also said since such an FIR has “happened for the first time in the Constitutional history”, his suggestion is that the Union of India could file an original suit in the Supreme Court.
In his earlier opinion on April 3, Parasaran, while terming the FIR “illegal”, had told the government and/or affected parties to approach the court to get the FIR quashed. He also opined that the FIR was registered in “great haste”.
The Delhi government or any other state government, he had said, didn’t have jurisdiction in the matter as gas pricing falls under the Union government.
“An injunction can be sought 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 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 had said in his opinion.