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Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Seeking CBI Probe In DMRC-DAMEPL Agreement For Allegedly Siphoning Off Public Money

Nupur Thapliyal
12 March 2022 7:15 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Seeking CBI Probe In DMRC-DAMEPL Agreement For Allegedly Siphoning Off Public Money
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The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea seeking investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a 2008 agreement between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure-promoted Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) alleging siphoning off public money. Justice Manmohan and Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain was dealing with a plea filed by Advocate Manohar Lal...

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea seeking investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a 2008 agreement between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure-promoted Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) alleging siphoning off public money.

Justice Manmohan and Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain was dealing with a plea filed by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeking a direction to CBI to register an FIR under Sections 409, 420, 120B of IPC read with Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to investigate and prosecute the accused persons for allegedly siphoning off the public money under the garb of illegal and void ab initio agreement dated 25th August, 2008.

According to the petitioner, Clause 151 of Article of Association of the DMRC stipulated that an agreement should be signed by two Directors or by one Director and Secretary of DMRC.

It was that in the present case, the impugned agreement was signed by a Director (Works) alone, which was contrary to the said Clause 151 of the Article of Association of DMRC.

It was also submitted that under the termination clause of the impugned agreement, DMRC was liable to compensate DAMEPL in case of termination of the contract by either of the parties. However, it was alleged that under the impugned agreement, DMRC did not have any right to get compensation even if the contract was terminated by DAMEPL.

"This Court is of the opinion that even if the argument that the impugned agreement is not signed by the competent authority is accepted, then also it would not constitute an offence to be investigated by the CBI," the Court said.

The Court added that a CBI investigation should be ordered only in the rarest of rare cases.

"Keeping in view the fact that an arbitral award arising in pursuance to the contract in question has been scrutinised by a learned Single Judge as well as Division Bench of the High Court and the Supreme Court, this Court is of the opinion that the present matter does not call for any direction in the writ jurisdiction by this Court to direct the CBI investigation," the Court said.

Noting that the petition was filed within two days of filing of the complaint dated 18th February, 2022 with the CBI, the Court said that examination of the complaint by the CBI cannot be expected to be completed in two days.

"Consequently, this Court is of the view that the present writ petition is premature, as CBI has not had reasonable time to examine the complaint. This Court is confident that CBI shall examine the complaint filed by the petitioner in accordance with law. It is, however, made clear that it is open for the CBI to take a decision which it deems fit and appropriate in the present case," the Court ordered.

Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.

Earlier also, Sharma had approached the Bench by filing a petition challenging the same agreement, alleging that the agreement was executed by playing a fraud on public money.

Calling it a misconceived and half baked petition, the Court had dismissed the said petition as well.

"Misconceived, Half Baked Petition": Delhi High Court Refuses To Entertain Plea Challenging DMRC-DAMEPL Agreement

Case Title: MANOHAR LAL SHARMA ADVOCATE v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 198

Click Here To Read Order 


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