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Solicitor General Seeks Stay Of Kerala Police Probe Against ED; High Court To Consider Tomorrow

Lydia Suzanne Thomas
30 March 2021 6:22 AM GMT
Solicitor General Seeks Stay Of Kerala Police Probe Against ED; High Court To Consider Tomorrow
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Appearing before the Kerala High Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought a halt on the investigation conducted by the Kerala Police against officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In its FIR, the Kerala Crime Branch accused officials of the ED of coercing gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh into implicating the Chief Minister, Ministers and other high ranking...

Appearing before the Kerala High Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought a halt on the investigation conducted by the Kerala Police against officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In its FIR, the Kerala Crime Branch accused officials of the ED of coercing gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh into implicating the Chief Minister, Ministers and other high ranking members of the State Government.

ED Deputy Director of Kochi Zone P Radhakrishnan moved the High Court last week, contending that the FIR was lodged by the Kerala Police with the aim of 'derailing' its investigation of the gold smuggling and other cases.

When the matter was taken up today, the Solicitor General referred to the Court's previous order in the case wherein the Court directed that no 'coercive steps' would be taken against the ED.
The Solicitor General expressed concerns about the continuation of the investigation by the Kerala Police whilst the ED's petition challenging the FIR was pending consideration by the Court. Though the Court has protected officials of the ED from coercive action, the Kerala police was proceeding with the investigation on the basis of 'fabricated evidence', he submitted in Court.
"...till your lordship decides, in all fairness let them not do that, I'm earnestly requesting your lordship!", the Solicitor General urged the Court.

The Solicitor General further said,

"..we are referring to the Highest Court in the state, one is a central agency other is a state agency, we must be fair to each other, above all, we must be fair to the honourable court."
Referring to the counter-affidavit filed by the State Government yesterday wherein the Kerala Police justified its investigation against the ED, the Solicitor-General submitted that a rejoinder in rebuttal would be filed today.
At the Court's suggestion that the matter be taken up at 2 PM today, Additional Solicitor-General SV Raju, who is also appearing for the ED, prayed for an adjournment in light of certain difficulties in the afternoon. Praying that the Court take on record an affidavit and a rejoinder submitted on behalf of the Deputy Director of the ED, the Court proceeded to adjourn the matter.
Therefore, the matter will be taken up tomorrow, that is March 30, at 11AM.
Senior Advocate Harin P Raval is appearing for the State Government.
In lighter vein, the Solicitor General observed that all the counsel arguing the case (Raval, ASG Raju and himself) are from Gujarat.
"It is a pleasure and privilege to hear you all", Justice Arun remarked.
During the course of proceedings last week, the ASG SV Raju had argued for the ED that the FIR was frivolous, vexatious, and baseless.

He had submitted that Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Code of Criminal Procedure barred taking cognizance of offences connected with and in relation to court proceedings except on a complaint made on behalf of the concerned court.

"Therefore, we argue that cognizance could not have been taken on this FIR as the matter relates to an offence connected to and in relation to a court proceeding", he submitted.

On this count, ASG Raju pointed out that Section 195A of the Code of Criminal Procedure used the term complaint as opposed to FIR when prescribing a procedure to institute proceedings for Section 195A IPC offences.

Yesterday, the Kerala Crime Branch filed a counter affidavit in the case before the High Court. In its counter, the Kerala Government charges the ED that it had ulterior motives in filing the writ petition and publishing statements made by the various accused during the course of its investigation into the gold smuggling scam and its various manifestations

The petition was filed by P Radhakrishnan, Deputy Director of ED Kochi Zone seeking to quash the FIR registered by Kerala Police Crime Branch against "unnamed ED officials" for offences under Sections 116, 120B, 167, 192, 193 and 195A of the Indian Penal Code.

In its FIR, the Crime Branch accused officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of coercing gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh into implicating the Chief Minister and other 'influential' government officials in the gold smuggling case and connected cases.

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