SC stays Kripashankar`s property attachment

The Supreme Court put an interim stay on the process of attaching and seizure of their properties.

Updated: Mar 13, 2012, 20:11 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused
to stay the investigation against Mumbai Congress chief
Kripashankar Singh and his family members for allegedly
amassing disproportianate assets but put an interim stay on
the process of attaching and seizure of their properties.

A bench comprising Justices H L Dattu and A R Dave asked
the Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik to conduct an
independent probe and collect documentary evidence regarding
all movable and immovable properties of Kripashankar and his
family, including his wife, son, daughter-in-law and daughter
while seeking a report in a sealed envelop.

It also restrained the politician and his family members
from "alienating, transfer or dealing with properties"
enumerated in the petition against them during the pendency of
the case in the court and directed them to file an affidavit
within three days giving an undertaking in this regard.
"Prima facie at first flash it (allegation against the
politician) looks correct so no stay on the proceedings," the
bench said.

The court passed the order on petitions filed by
Kripashankar and his family members seeking stay of the Bombay
High Court order of February 22 directing the city police
commissioner to prosecute them for "criminal misconduct" under
the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The High Court had also directed the police to attach
immovable properties of the Congress MLA.

Challenging the High Court`s order, they said the order
was passed on a petition which was politically motivated.

"Petition was filed by political rivals. It was meant for
political warfare in judicial arena to tarnish my image,"
senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kripashankar,
submitted while contending that the HIgh Court "over-stepped
its jurisdiction" in delaing with the matter.
The bench said that this issue of "political battle
fought in the court needs consideration" and would be looked
into at later stage.

The bench in its order also said if required the Mumbai
Police Commissioner can approach the competent authority for
seeking sanction for prosecution of Kripashankar.

Senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for Kripashankar`s
son Narendra Mohan, also said there was a "complete
overstepping by the writ court and such overstepping is not
known in law and should not be allowed".

Another senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for
Kripashankar`s daughter, submitted that the High Court order
comes in the way of Article 21 of the constitution as there
has been a blatant intrusion of personal liberty of the
petitioners.

Maharashtra Government counsel Shekhar Nafde opposed the
petitions of Kripashankar and his family members saying that
the investigation was based on the court`s order and there was
a warrant for the probe.

The Bombay High Court had passed the order on a public
interest litigation filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who
alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth
disproportionate to his known sources of income.

His counsel Prashant Bhushan told the apex court that the
High Court had passed the directions after going through the
list of properties acquired by the former Mumbai Congress
Chief in the short span between 2004 and 2006.

The High Court while keeping the PIL pending has directed
the CP to file a compliance report on April 19.

"The PIL shall be treated as FIR and the report
submitted by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in March
2011 showing Kripashankar`s income and expenditure shall be
treated as investigation," the High Court had said.

Tiwari has alleged in the petition that Kripashankar had
been close to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda,
currently in jail for alleged involvement in a multi-crore
hawala scam.

He alleged that several monetary transactions had taken
place between them.

Kripashankar`s son Narendra Mohan is married to Ankita,
daughter of Kamlesh Singh, who was a minister in the Koda
cabinet, and is now in jail in connection with the hawala
scam.

Ankita had received Rs 1.75 crore in her account from
Kamlesh, the PIL said, adding there were huge transactions
from the bank accounts of Kripashankar`s wife Malti Devi too.

Kripashankar`s counsels had opposed the PIL, calling
it politically motivated and one that served BJP`s interests.

PTI