The Gujarat High Court has refused to grant relief to a customs officer’s mother and his “estranged” wife from alleged disproportionate assets case lodged by the CBI back in 2009.
The court said that CBI case against wife and mother of the accused officer are also liable for abetting the act of criminal misconduct prevention of corruption act committed by the officer who is a public servant.
While rejecting the argument of the petitioner — Kalavati Mehta and Mita Mehta — who are respectively mother and wife of accused officer Hitesh Mehta, inspector, customs and excise who was then posted in Vapi, Justice J B Pardiwala on Friday observed that the prosecution of private persons along with the public servant is well maintainable. The CBI had booked the three under section 13 (1) (e) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 among other sections including sections of Indian Penal Code. The CBI alleged that Mita, who is said to have separated from her husband, had filed income tax returns showing income from sources like tuitions, beauty parlour work, share trading and job in private sector. During the investigation, they found several anomalies in the claims filed in the returns. She is accused of submitting several false salary certificates from private firms with the help of her husband, Hitesh Mehta. The CBI stated that her act proves that she actively abetted Mehta in his offence.
In case of accused officer’s mother, Kalavati Mehta, the CBI found several documents showing assets in her name, namely purchase of a land measuring 2.04 hectares at Khajuradi village in 2003, her share transactions, expenditure for education of son of the accused, among others. The CBI claims that assets, income and expenditure of Kalavati Mehta also cannot be separated from the assets, income and expenditure of Hitesh Mehta. However, these two accused argued in the court that these properties belong to them and the accused officer had no role to play in such transaction.
The petitioner women had also contended that CBI could not have meddled into the affairs of the Income Tax Department.