17 May 2023 9:44 AM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, adjourned a plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) assailing an interim order passed by the Karnataka High Court staying CBI proceedings against DK Shivakumar, President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in a corruption case.Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Shivakumar, apprised a Bench comprising Justice...
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, adjourned a plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) assailing an interim order passed by the Karnataka High Court staying CBI proceedings against DK Shivakumar, President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in a corruption case.
Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Shivakumar, apprised a Bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sanjay Karol that the impugned order is an interim one and the main matter is coming up for hearing before the High Court the next week. He indicated if the present SLP can be adjourned until then. Considering the request of the Senior Counsel, the Bench thought it fit to adjourn the matter till 14th July, 2022. The Additional Solicitor General (ASG), SV Raju, expressed his concern regarding approaching the Supreme Court post the High Court hearing, if need be, since ‘the Supreme Court is closing for summer vacation’. The Bench assured the ASG that throughout the period of vacation, two Benches of the Apex Court would be functioning. It granted the parties liberty to approach the vacation Bench of the Apex Court in case of any exigencies.
While adjourning the matter, Justice Gavai orally remarked, “At least for two, three days some publicity is avoided.”
Singhvi said, “According to us this (CBI’s SLP) was filed because of the Karnataka elections.”
On 10th February, 2023, by way of an interim order, the Karnataka High Court had stayed CBI proceedings in a corruption case Shivakumar.
“Though the CBI has authority to make an enquiry with any of the family members of the public servant as per Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and in view of the very reference order challenged by the petitioner by filing writ petition and until the disposal of the said with petition, it is necessary for this Court to stay the further investigation till next date of hearing”, read the order of the High Court.
After the interim order dated 10.02.2023 was passed the main matter came up for hearing on 8 occasions wherein the interim order was extended by the High Court.
The Enforcement Directorate had written a letter to the State Government on 09.09.2019 to the Chief Secretary of Karnataka stating that there was income tax raid on Shivakumar and the case was registered against him under Section 200 CrPC for offence punishable under Section 276(C) and 277 of the Income Tax Act read with Sections 193, 199 and 120B of the IPC. In the raid INR 8.50 crores was recovered and the ED informed the Chief Secretary of the State to refer the matter to the CBI. Accordingly, the State Government entrusted the investigation to the CBI. It appears that the CBI registered a case against Shivakumar’s family members as well. Accordingly, a writ petition was filed before the High Court wherein it had directed the CBI not to take coercive action against the petitioner.
Before the High Court, Shivakumar’s Counsel had argued that though the FIR was registered in 2020, no investigation has been conducted. Moreover, the challenge to the very entrustment of the case to the CBI is also pending before the High Court. It was also submitted that the CBI had issued notice to the family members, especially Shivakumar’s daughter; called them to the office and indirectly harassed Shivakumar.
The High Court, in the impugned order, had noted that it was crucial to await the decision in which Shivkumar had challenged the reference order/entrustment of the case to the CBI. It had observed, “if the said petition (challenging reference order) is allowed and the present case on hand will not stand and automatically the registration of the case and entire investigation will be vanquished and also there is possibility of delivering divergent opinion by both the Courts are also not ruled out.”
[Case Title: CBI v. DK Shivakumar SLP(Crl) No. 5026-5030/2023]
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