High Court refuses to quash FIR against note-swap suspect

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by K C Veerendra, a casino owner and hawala trader, accused in the currency exchange racket.

Justice K N Phaneendra, pronouncing the judgement from Dharwad bench, refused to quash the FIR filed against Veerendra.

The judge, in the order, said that there is some semblance of truth in the allegation which broadly makes out the case for investigation. Such investigation should not be stifled by quashing an FIR, the judge said. The allegation against the petitioner is that he colluded with bank officials to siphon off new currency in exchange for demonetised ones.
Unless the investigation is completed, the court would not be able to ascertain the exact offence of the petitioner, the court said. The judge said that there is no strong reason for the court to quash the FIR filed against the petitioner.

During an I-T raid in December 2016, authorities found Rs 5.76 crore in new notes in a concealed locker in Veerendra’s bathroom in his residence in Challakere in Chitradurga district. He had approached the hight court for bail contending that he had men to stand in the queue in the bank for exchange of currency. He contended that he is answerable to the I-T department and CBI has nothing to do with the currency found in his house. He is out on conditional bail.

The CBI, in its statement of objection, said that it is not practicable to exchange old currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 for a total value of Rs 5.76 in a small town like Challakere without the connivance of bank officials. CBI said that interrogation of the petitioner was necessary to unearth the deep-rooted conspiracy in the matter.

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