Synopsis: The High Court also retained the direction of the trial court to the investigation agency to put the information before the sanctioning authority for prosecution.
On Friday, on a petition by BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the CBI challenging a trial court order rejecting the closure report and ordering the investigating agency to further investigate a corruption case against her.
Although rejecting the CBI report, further investigation of the case was also directed by the trial court.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna also retained the direction of the trial court to the investigative agency to put the material before the sanctioning authority for prosecution.
The case concerned an FIR registered under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) r/w 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Gandhi and some other persons by the CBI in 2006.
Following an inquiry, the CBI submitted a final closure report in 2008. The Special CBI Judge, however, ordered a “re-investigation” which was changed to further investigation upon a challenge before the High Court.
CBI subsequently submitted a supplementary closure report again in 2015, after it came to a categorical conclusion that there was no inculpatory proof against Gandhi.
The Special CBI Judge, which serves as the Special MP/MLA Panel, ordered the CBI to conduct further investigations again in February of this year. It also ordered the agency to refer the matter to the sanctioning authority for the purpose of punishing Gandhi for prosecution.
Gandhi has claimed, opposing this order, that the order is unconstitutional, perverse and unsustainable ex-facie, and does not even spell out the parameters/pointers for further inquiry.
It was argued that an investigating agency could not be ordered by a trial court to perform further investigation and to seek penalty from the sanctioning authority.
Gandhi submitted, in her plea before the Court, that the order cannot stand the scrutiny of the statutory compact on the Prevention of Corruption Act and is liable to be set aside and quashed.
The matter will be heard next on 8th February, 2021.