New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday ordered resumption of trial of sitting Haryana legislators Ajay and Abhay Chautala for possessing assets worth more than their legal income, dismissing their pleas that their trial by a CBI court was "vitiated" for want of sanction to prosecute them.
A bench of justices V S Sirpurkar and T S Thakur dismissed their pleas against their trial reiterating that there is no need for sanction to prosecute a public servant if he is sought to be tried for misusing his past official position, different from the one which he is currently holding.
"We are of the clear view that the (Punjab and Haryana) High Court was absolutely right in relying on the decision in Prakash Singh Badal vs State of Punjab to hold that appellants (Chautalas) had abused entirely different office or offices, other than the one which they were holding on the date on which cognisance was taken," said the bench.
Therefore, there was no necessity of sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the bench added, holding the appeals by the Indian National Lok Dal leaders as "without any merit" and dismissing them.
The bench, which had stayed their trial by a Haryana CBI court last year on October 22, ordered its resumption.
The bench also dismissed their pleas for review of the apex court judgements in past corruption cases involving former Maharashtra Chief Minister A R Antulay and erstwhile Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal by a larger bench.
The two judgements had laid down the law that there is need for sanction to prosecute a public servant if he is sought to be tried for misusing his past official position, different from one which he is currently holding.
The two Chautala brothers, sons of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, have been chargesheeted by the CBI for possessing assets far exceeding their legal incomes.
Abhay Chautala has been chargesheeted for possessing assets worth nearly Rs 120 crore which exceeds his legal income between 2000-05 by over 522 percent.
Ajay Chautala has been chargsheeted for possessing assets worth 27 crores, which exceeds his legal income between 1993 and 2006 by 339 percent.
The trial court had taken cognizance of the chargesheet against them dismissing their plea that that there was no sanction by the competent authority to prosecute them under the PC Act. The high court too had dismissed their plea later.