Supreme Court declines Bengal's plea for court monitoring of Saradha probe
The Supreme Court Thursday turned down the West Bengal government and the ruling Trinamool Congress`s plea for the court monitoring of the CBI probe into Saradha and non-Saradha chit fund scam cases.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday turned down the West Bengal government and the ruling Trinamool Congress`s plea for the court monitoring of the CBI probe into Saradha and non-Saradha chit fund scam cases.
Noting that there was no allegation by the applicants (West Bengal and Trinamool) that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not conducted the investigation in the manner it was required to do, a bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan declined the plea seeking apex court`s monitoring of the investigations and the curb on the alleged selective leaks by the probe agency.
However, the court said that any one aggrieved by the alleged selective leaks by the investigating agency could move for an appropriate recourse before an appropriate court.
Holding the allegations of selective leaks by the probe agency "does not appear to be well-founded", the court said: "Needless to say that any none aggrieved by any action of the CBI will be free to take an appropriate recourse before and appropriate court."
Urging the court to monitor the investigation, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state government, drew the attention of the court to its May 9, 2014 order which said that though it did "not for the present consider it necessary to constitute a Monitoring Team to monitor the progress of the investigation into the scam. But, we leave the exercise of that option open for the future".
Clarifying its May 9, 2014 order, the court said that it had left open the option of monitoring the investigation only for the situation if it was found that despite its directions, the investigating agency was not doing its job.
"What was the idea (of keeping the option of monitoring open). We are transferring it (investigation) but still CBI may not do it," the court said.
"Don`t make court a political arena," the court observed, asking Sibal if the state government was saying that CBI was not doing its work.
Sibal said that the state government had nothing to do with politics. However, senior counsel Vivek Tankha appearing for Trinamool general secretary Mohua Moitra said that selective leaks were political in nature, hurting more so when the local bodies elections are around.
On the allegations of selective leaks by the CBI, the court noted the statement made by the deputy inspector general of police (DIG), CBI, who told the court that investigating agency does not address press conferences nor interacts with media nor authorises any one to interact with mediapersons.
"We never interact with media. Much of that and most of them (that appears in media) is a figment of their imagination," the DIG told the court adding that all briefings are done the investigating agency`s headquarters.
At this, Sibal said: "Leaks are not done through press conferences", while Tankha said: "Whatever they (media) says today, that comes out tomorrow. How people in media come to know what you are doing or going to do. How media persons come to know what transpired during the questioning of a person."
However, the court sought to cap the issue saying: "Media has intuition. We can`t stop media from doing its job. You (lawyers) are doing your job. We are doing our job."
The court did not approve of CBI`s stand that it was not taking up investigation in a large number of Saradha and non-Saradha chit fund scam cases as it lacked both infrastructure and the manpower.
Citing its May 9, 2014 order, transferring all the Saradha and non-Saradha chit fund scam cases to the CBI, the court asked how could the investigating agency take such a position without moving before it and seeking the modification of its earlier order.