Delhi HC rejects Excise Commissioner's plea to quash proceedings
New Delhi: A plea by a senior Central Excise Commissioner who sought quashing of criminal proceedings against him in a graft case claiming that CBI had not taken prior sanction, has been rejected by Delhi High Court which said no such permission was required to conduct an inquiry against a public servant.
Dismissing the petition of Anup Kumar Srivastava, Central Excise Commissioner, Justice Mukta Gupta said "....In the FIR itself it was noted that though the Petitioner (Srivastav) was holding office of a public servant equivalent to Joint Secretary but in view of the provisions of Section 6(2) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, prior permission for conducting investigation against him is not required in this case."
Justice Gupta rejected Srivstava's argument that if the law requires sanction and the court proceeds against a public servant without sanction, the public servant has a right to raise the issue of jurisdiction as the entire action may be rendered void ab-initio for want of sanction.
Challenging the trial court's March 2012 order taking cognizance of the CBI's charge-sheet against him, Srivastava urged the high court to quash the criminal proceedings on the grounds of lack of sanction before the inquiry started.
Srivastava was arrested by CBI on January 13 last year and in its chargesheet against him and four others, which it had filed after taking sanction for prosecution, it had termed him as the 'mastermind' behind the bribery case.
CBI had registered an FIR against Srivastava, Superintendent of Central Excise Lallan Ojha, alleged middleman Hemant Gandhi and businessmen Dalip Aggarwal and Anand Aggarwal for their alleged role in the graft case.
It was alleged that a sum of Rs 60 lakh was paid to Srivastava through his conduits.
The agency arrested Gandhi and Ojha on January 2 last year.
The agency claimed that Ojha on the instruction of Srivastava had staged a search operation at the premises of Agarwals, engaged in import of mobile phone.
"A farce search was carried out and no records were created before, during or after the searches. Initially, an illegal gratification of Rs 2 crore was allegedly demanded, which was finally settled for Rs 60 lakh," as per CBI.