SC unhappy over delay in CBI, ED cases against MPs/MLAs

SC expresses displeasure over delay in CBI, ED cases against MPs/MLAs

The bench said in ED cases, properties worth crores are attached, but no charge sheet is filed

The Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over the inordinate delay by central agencies, CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), in completing investigations in cases filed against sitting and former MPs and MLAs.

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to have a discussion with directors of CBI and ED, to find out if they require additional manpower to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner.

“We are sorry to say that the report is inconclusive. There is no reason for not filing charge sheet for 10-15 years, and also for not filing anything," the bench said while referring to a report filed by amicus curiae on the status of pending cases against MPs/MLAs by CBI and ED.

The bench said in ED cases, properties worth crores are attached, but no charge sheet is filed.

“Simply attaching the property does not serve the purpose," the bench added.  

Also Read | SC asked to set up monitoring panel to expedite CBI/ED cases against MPs/MLAs

The bench expressed shock as a senior advocate and amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria, gave an example of a 2013 case registered under the NDPS Act in which the charge was framed in 2017 and was pending before Special Judge, NDPS FTC, Manipur, with an expected time for completion of the trial as 2030.

"Don’t keep the sword hanging on somebody head. The trial should be completed on time, if somebody is guilty, he should be punished," the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Mehta submitted that in many ED cases, a response from foreign countries is often required. Letters Rogatories are sent to various foreign countries seeking information. “Some send response early. Some late”, he said.

Mehta suggested that the court may set an outer limit for trial to end.

To this, the bench said, “It is easy for us to say expedite trial and all... but where are the judges?"

Hansaria, for his part, submitted that data of pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs was shocking and disturbing and emphasised expediting the trial proceedings.

According to the amicus report, 51 MPs and 71 MLAs/MLCs are accused in cases arising out of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

A total of 121 CBI cases against MPs/MLAs are pending before the court.

“Cases range from 8 to 10 years. 58 cases are punishable with death or life imprisonment. The oldest case is from 2000. 37 cases of CBI are still under investigation," the report said.

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