28 Sep 2022 2:01 PM GMT
Granting statutory bail to former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and former Group Operating Officer Anand Subramanian in the co-location scam case, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a "piece meal charge sheet" and same is not in respect of all the offences that are subject matter of the FIRJustice Sudhir Kumar Jain said that probe agency is...
Granting statutory bail to former NSE CEO Chitra Ramkrishna and former Group Operating Officer Anand Subramanian in the co-location scam case, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a "piece meal charge sheet" and same is not in respect of all the offences that are subject matter of the FIR
Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said that probe agency is not legally permitted to pick one portion of investigation and thereafter file a piece-meal chargesheet qua few offences, while leaving the investigation open qua other offences.
"This would be complete negation of section 167(2) of the Code. The investigating agency cannot be permitted to fragment or break FIR for the purpose of different charge sheets and this will tantamount to negation of section 167(2) and would against mandate of Article of 21 of the Constitution," the Court said.
Observing that the practice of filing chargesheets to seek extension of remand beyond the statutory period has been deprecated by Supreme Court in the past, Justice Jain said that the investigating agency is required to form opinion regarding all offences which are subject matter of FIR after completion of entire investigation.
The FIR was registered by CBI under sections 120B and 204 of Indian Penal Code, Sections 7, 12, 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
Although CBI failed to complete investigation in respect of all the offences, a chargesheet was filed only for offences punishable under the PC Act and section 120B of IPC. The investigation regarding other offences were incomplete.
Therefore, the question before the court was whether filing of CBI's chargesheet qua certain offences in FIR was sufficient compliance of section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to deny statutory bail or default bail to Ramakrishna and Subramanian.
Observing that there is a distinction between completion of investigation and further investigation, the Court said that the CBI had conducted and concluded part investigation while the probe pertaining to allegations made in FIR was still pending which could not be termed as further investigation under CrPC.
The Court also said that further investigation can be resorted to only after the completion of investigation and filing of complete charge sheet.
"There is legal force and supported by judicial decisions as mentioned hereinabove that the respondent/CBI has failed to complete investigation in respect of all the offences as mentioned in FIR and to file a Final Report under section 173 of the Code within stipulated time i.e. sixty days from the date of the arrest of the applicant/accused and filed an incomplete/piece-meal charge sheet before the concerned court on 21.04.2022 i.e. 46th day from the date of arrest," the Court observed.
Justice Jain also said that it is not permissible within the mandate of Sections 173(2) and 167(2) to take cognisance of chargesheet filed in piece meal or in parts as that would amount to negation of indefeasible right given to the accused under Section 167(2) of the Code.
"The constitutional right under Section 167(2) of the Code and granted to the accused in case of non-completion of investigation within stipulated period cannot be interpreted to convenience of investigating agency," said the bench.
The court also said the investigating agency cannot circumvent Section 167(2) CrPC by filing incomplete chargesheet. Any report sent before the investigation is completed will not be a police report within the meaning of Section 173(2) of the Code, it added
The Court granted statutory bail to Ramkrishna and Subramanian under section 167(2) of CrPC subject to furnishing a personal bond of Rs.5 lakhs with one surety of like amount.
CBI is probing an alleged improper dissemination of information from the computer servers of the market exchange to the stockbrokers.
According to CBI, it was alleged that the probe revealed that Ramkrishna allegedly hired Subramanian as consultant in NSE without following the due procedure and also by coercing the HR Department.
Subramaniam, Ramkrishna and former CEO Ravi Narain were showcaused by the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for various corporate governance lapses.
CBI had thereafter arrested Ramkrishna and a Special Court had sent her to the custody.
SEBI had levied penalties on Ramkrishna and others for violating rules while appointing Subramaniam as Chief Strategic Advisor.
It was alleged by the probe agency that Chitra in conspiracy with Subramanian influenced the NSE officials to facilitate him in having access to important decision making processes.
Case Title: Chitra Ramakrishna v. CBI, Anand Subramaniam v. CBI
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 916
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