Delhi HC Reserves Order In Malvinder Singh's Plea Challenging Parallel Investigation By Economic Offences Wing
Delhi High Court has reserved order on issuance of notice to Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in an application filed by former Fortis promoter Malvinder Mohan Singh seeking quashing of the FIR lodged by EOW.
Malvinder Singh had filed a criminal writ petition on the ground that when an investigation on offences under the Companies Act is already being conducted by SFIO, there cannot be a parallel investigation carried out by EOW on the same transactions and against the same companies.
Appearing for the Applicants, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that Section 212 of the Companies Act exclusively gives mandate to SFIO for investigating offences under the Companies Act. Once, the investigation is undertaken by SFIO, all other agencies have to transfer any information pertaining to the said offences to SFIO.
Further, it was also submitted by Mr Singhvi that the definition of fraud under section 447 of the Companies Act is wide enough to include all forms of fraud. Therefore, EOW cannot be allowed to invoke sections 409 and 420 of the IPC to conduct a parallel investigation. Moreover, SFIO is also given powers to look into offences under IPC while conducting investigation for serious frauds.
Moreover, since the SFIO is a body created by a later and Special Act, it will take precedence over IPC.
By relying upon the following claims, Mr Singhvi submitted that allowing EOW to conduct parallel investigation would subject the accused to double jeopardy which violates his fundamental right under Article 20 of the Constitution.
Therefore, Mr Singhvi sought either the notice to be issued to all the respondents including EOW to file an affidavit mentioning what all companies they are and will be investigating, or an order to quash the proceedings initiated before the CMM at Saket court.
To counter the Applicant's claims, ASG Avninder Singh argued that EOW is not investigating offences under the Companies Act and neither is it making inquiries against the same company. It was also submitted that EOW would be investigating the offences under IPC and the companies sought to be investigated are Fortis and RFL.
It was also pointed out by Mr Singh that the case has not even reached the stage of cognisance yet, and EOW is still at the stage of conducting investigation. The present application has been filed to conflate the distinction between trial and investigation in order to derail the investigation.