Telangana High Court Stays SIT's Notice To BJP leader B L Santhosh; State Says His Desperate Attempts To Avoid Investigation Raise Suspicion

Rahul Garg

25 Nov 2022 5:49 PM GMT

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  • Telangana High Court Stays SITs Notice To BJP leader B L Santhosh; State Says His Desperate Attempts To Avoid Investigation Raise Suspicion

    The Telangana High Court on Friday stayed the notice issued by the Special Investigation Team to BJP's National General Secretary B.L. Santhosh in connection with the ongoing investigation in the alleged TRS MLA poaching case.Justice K. Surender in the order said that the notice does not fulfil any of the three requirements under Section 41A CrPC."Prima facie, this Court finds that not one of...

    The Telangana High Court on Friday stayed the notice issued by the Special Investigation Team to BJP's National General Secretary B.L. Santhosh in connection with the ongoing investigation in the alleged TRS MLA poaching case.

    Justice K. Surender in the order said that the notice does not fulfil any of the three requirements under Section 41A CrPC.

    "Prima facie, this Court finds that not one of the requirements mentioned in Section 41A CrPC to summon the petitioner are mentioned. The notice does not give any details of any one of the requirements mentioned in the provision. Any act of the investigating agency, in my opinion, would be arbitrary, if the law mandates fulfilling of certain conditions or criteria and the same are not fulfilled, would be violative of the rights of the person to whom the notice is issued," said the court.

    The high court on Wednesday had permitted the SIT to issue a fresh notice of appearance to Santhosh under Section 41A of the CrPC. The SIT issued him a notice on November 23. Santhosh on Friday filed a petition through Advocate B Rachna Reddy seeking quashing of the notice. 

    Senior Counsel B Prakash Reddy representing Santhosh argued that the notice issued by the SIT was bad in law as the impugned notice does not satisfy the requirements under Section 41A of the CrPC. He placed reliance on the Karnataka High Court's decision in Manish Maheshwari v. State of Uttar Pradesh.

    Reddy argued that under Section 41A, a notice can only be issued subject to three conditions — to a person against whom there exists a reasonable complaint, where there is credible information and upon existence of a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a cognizable offence.

    Advocate General B. S. Prasad on the other hand submitted that Santhosh has been avoiding the notices, and argued that the same are in accordance with Section 41-A CrPC. Santhosh's "desperate attempt in moving both the writ Court and also this Court" would raise an amount of suspicion, argued the AG. 

    The State counsel placed reliance on the decisions in Tippayya Swami and Another v. State of Karnataka, Shaukin v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others, and Satendar Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation and Others.

    Justice Surender said that Section 41A CrPC makes it clear that the intention of the legislature is to inform the person to whom the notice is issued about the reasonable complaint which has been made or credible information which has been received or reasonable suspicion that exists that he has committed cognizable offence.

    "The mandate is that the person to whom the notice is issued should be aware of the reasons for which he is being summoned so that he could answer the questions and assist the investigation by producing whatever evidence he has with him," said the court.

    The court then perused the notices which were issued on 16.11.2022 and 23.11.2022, respectively and noted that:

    "As seen from the notices dated 16.11.2022, the investigating officer stated that 'there are reasonable grounds to question you to ascertain the facts and circumstances from you in relation to the present investigation.' The second notice was issued dated, 23.11.2022, stating that 'during the course of investigation based on evidence available.' Whether the requirements in 41A are complied with when the investigation agency states in its petition that 'there are reasonable grounds' or that 'there is suspicion' would suffice to say that any one of the three requirements of Section 41A CrPC are met, has to be decided," it added.

    Prima facie finding that the requirements have not been met in the notice, the court said it deems it fit to stay the impugned notice till December 05, the next date of hearing.

    The court said it has to be seen whether the wording in Section 41A CrPC notice stating that 'there is evidence' and 'reasonable grounds exist' fulfils the requirements under Section 41A CrPC.

    Case Title: B L Santhosh v. State of Telangana and Another

    Citation: Criminal Petition No. 10518 of 2022

    Coram: Justice K. Surender

    Click Here To Read/Download the Order

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