SC declines to interfere in graft probe against Karnataka officers

SC declines to interfere in graft probe against Karnataka officers

SC declines to interfere in graft probe against Karnataka officers

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to interfere in an order of investigation against two Karnataka government officers in a corruption case.

The officers contended that the FIR against them was registered by an inspector of police, though only the office of deputy superintendent of police (DySP) was designated for launching a probe into anti-corruption cases.

“Merely because a particular officer is notified under the law it does not mean an FIR cannot be registered and the entire investigation becomes flawed,” a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said. “All this is a matter of evidence and trial,” the bench said.

The court agreed to the contention of Karnataka’s Additional Advocate General Aditya Sondhi and advocate Joseph Aristotle, who submitted that there cannot be any stay in corruption cases probe as mandated under Section 19 (3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

G H Nagahanumaiah, an officer with the Bangalore Development Authority, and another faced investigation on an FIR lodged on December 14, 2016 on allegations of graft in land acquisition proceedings in the city.

In two special leave petitions filed through advocates Nishanth Patil and Prithveesh Mirle, the officers challenged a High Court of Karnataka’s order of February 22, this year, vacating stay on investigation against them.

Senior advocates Sidharth Luthra and R Basant, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the FIR could be registered against the officer only at the designated police station, which has been declared to be an office of DySP in the instant case. “The case is going to have far-reaching consequences if not quashed as any other inspector who is not attached to the office of DySP would register an FIR in corruption cases and start investigation against the provisions of the law,” they contended.

The bench, however, said, “We are not inclined to interfere at this stage. Undoubtedly, some observations were made by the high court in the interim order for vacation of stay on the investigation. The high court will decide all points in final hearing preferably within eight weeks.”

As a matter of some relief to the officers, the bench said, “In case, the investigation is carried out, the final report (charge sheet or closure) will not be filed pending the outcome of case in the high court.”

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