In a setback to the CBI, a special court has said the agency “utterly failed” to comply with a mandatory CrPC provision in its probe in an alleged corruption case involving Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.
Special Judge Ajay Kumar Jain directed de-freezing of three bank accounts of Laxmi Enterprises, linked to a firm under the scanner in the case, saying the agency had “not informed” the court about freezing them.
The CBI has been “unable to show”, till date, even prima facie that the frozen accounts have any direct links with the commission of alleged crime, said the special judge in his order Thursday.
“Furthermore, there appears to be no compliance of section 102(3) CrPC by CBI in present case. As per the mandate of this section, every police officer acting under sub section (3) shall forthwith report the seizure or attachment of accounts to the magistrate having jurisdiction,” said Jain. Section 102 of CrPC deals with the power conferred on the police officer to seize certain property during probe.
“From the record, it is clear that after freezing the account on December 18, 2015, CBI has not informed this court… CBI first time admitted freezing of the bank account of the applicant firm in its reply dated January 18, 2016, to this application,” said the court, while directing the firm to furnish a bond of Rs 1 crore for de-freezing of the accounts.
The order comes in connection with plea filed by Laxmi Enterprises for de-freezing of the three accounts.
The proprietor of Laxmi Enterprises, Dinesh Kumar Gupta, is also the director of Endeavour System Private Limited (ESPL), a firm under probe in the graft case allegedly involving Kumar.
The firm stated that during the probe Gupta had explained every entry in the accounts reflecting the inflow and outflow of funds.
The court said, “It is surprising that with this application also the CBI has not annexed the letter which it had written to the bank for freezing of account of the applicant firm. CBI does not find it at all necessary to inform the court about the freezing of the present accounts… The CBI, in present case, utterly failed to comply (with) the requirements of sub section (3) of 102 CrPC.”
The court said Laxmi Enterprises had admittedly not received any payment or benefit from any of the departments under investigation.
“Mere transactions between the applicant firm and ESPL company cannot be held incriminating if investigating agency is not able to show that ESPL tried to siphon off the money through the applicant firm,” said Jain.
Referring to the section 102 of the CrPC, the court said the language “is very clear and it is clearly an exhaustive provision as it should be. Otherwise, the provision would be arbitrary and unconnected to the offence and would be liable to be misused for ulterior purposes”.
“This itself suggests that the property seized must have clear connection with the commission of offence. It cannot be seized on the whims and fancies of the investigating officer and his unfounded apprehension that if the account is not seized then the amount could be withdrawn,” added the court.