Reprieve for Nitish Govt; order on CAG rpt stayed
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Last Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 18:42
Patna: The Patna High Court today stayed its previous order on whether or not the allegations levelled in a PIL in connection with the CAG report were a fit case to be referred to the CBI, in a major reprieve for the Nitish Kumar government.

After an almost two-day hearing on the interlocutory petition filed by the state government seeking modifications in its order dated July 15, a division bench comprising Chief Justice R M Doshit and Justice S K Katriar also stayed its directive to the CBI director and Joint Director to be present in the court on July 26.

Advocate General P K Sahi said that the bench had put a stay on paragraph 18 and 19 of its July 15 order wherein both these two points were elaborated.

"It implies that there won't be any CBI inquiry," he said.

Paragraph 18 of the bench's July 15 order states, "...whether or not the allegations levelled in the writ petitions are fit to be referred for the investigation by the CBI." Subsequently, paragraph 19 mentions, "let the Director, CBI, and the Joint Director of CBI, Patna, be personally present in the court on July 26 for the purpose."

Sahi said that the court had also reserved its order on the state government's interlocutory petition seeking modifications of other observations related to the CAG report. Appearing on behalf of the state government, Sahi informed the court that the state government had submitted the vouchers (Detailed Contingent Bills) for Rs 5516 crore against reconciliation of the abstract bills for Rs 11,412 between 2002-03 and 2007-08.

"The submission of DC bills is a continuous process and it doesn't reflect embezzlement," he said.

Appearing on behalf of the office of Accountant General (AG), senior advocate P K Rajgrihar said the CAG was a watchdog of state exechequer. "There is no embezzlement of funds highlighted in the report."

In course of the argument, the state government pleaded for modification of its July 15 opinion that a CBI enquiry into the alleged financial irregularities was a necessity, saying the CAG report was under consideration of the Public Accounts Committee of the state Assembly.

Senior advocate M Nageshwar Rao and Advocate General P K Sahi, on behalf of the state, said, "CAG report is not yet final.

"As by the order of governor it has been laid before the legislature on July 14, 2009 following the constitutional mandate enshrined in article 15(2) of the Indian Constitution," Rao argued.

The CAG report was under consideration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and yet to be adopted by the House, he said.

He pleaded that that in view of the constitutional mandate and restriction, it would be totally opposed to the scheme of the constitution itself to permit any kind of discussion even by way of inquiry by any third agency (CBI) until the report of PAC was submitted to the House, which would take its final view.

On behalf of Arvind Kumar, who filed the PIL seeking a CBI inquiry into alleged financial irregularities of Rs 11,412 crore in execution of development schemes, senior advocate Dinu Kumar said the state government's interlocutory petition was not maintainable at this stage when the high court had already passed its order.

"Let the state government go in SLP on the matter in the Supreme Court for modifications," Kumar said.


First Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 18:42

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