The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday allowed the CBI to file an FIR against former chief minister Harish Rawat in connection with a 2016 video that purportedly showed him negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs.
A single bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia passed the order on Monday after the CBI placed a report of the preliminary inquiry before the court.
“The court has been informed that the preliminary inquiry has been completed and now the CBI wants to proceed further in the matter. In case the CBI wants to proceed further and register a First Information Report, this court will not come in its way, but it is made clear that there are larger issues here before this court, such as, the order of the Governor dated 31.03.2016, where the investigation was ordered to be done in the first place by the CBI, and the subsequent notification which followed on 02.04.2016, and then ultimately the Government on 15.05.2016 by which these orders, by which sanction was granted were withdrawn. The question here would be that when the Government itself had withdrawn its consent for the CBI inquiry… why did the CBI continue… and the validity of this enquiry. What has also to be seen by this Court is the validity of the order dated 31.03.2016 read with subsequent notification dated 02.04.2016,” the court order stated.
The court said that action taken after filing of FIR shall be subject to the decision in the petition filed by Rawat. He had filed a writ petition challenging the CBI notification initiating an inquiry on April 2, 2016.
The court will next hear the matter on November 1. Speaking to The Indian Express, CBI lawyer Sandeep Tandon said, “The court has read the report of preliminary inquiry and has not stopped CBI from registering the FIR…”
V B S Negi, a senior lawyer associated with Rawat’s case, said, “But the court has also said that since petitioner Harish Rawat has challenged the validity of preliminary inquiry, then any action taken by CBI will not affect the petition filed by the petitioner. The court has also said that any action taken by the CBI subject to decision in writ petition.”