HC Asks Govt and RIL to Cooperate with Delhi ACB
The Delhi High Court has asked the central government and Reliance Industries (RIL) to cooperate with Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is probing the alleged collusion between the two to raise natural gas prices, but the court also said its earlier order restraining authorities from taking coercive action stands. The court is hearing petitions, filed by the central government and RIL, seeking an order to quash the FIR that was ordered by Arvind Kejriwal when he was Delhi’s chief minister. The court issued notices to the Delhi government, which has filed the FIR and the anti-corruption bureau. The court asked them to reply by August 1 when it will next hear the case. The ACB had complained it wasn’t getting any cooperation from the government or Reliance Industries. Justice Manmohan of the Delhi High Court also sought the files related to the Kejriwal government referring the case to the ACB. There was high-drama in the court-room at the outset when Delhi government counsel and senior advocate Vikas Singh alleged that the petition had been “fixed” for hearing in that particular court but he immediately apologised after Justice Manmohan took strong objection to this. The court also issued notices on an intervention application filed by prominent people on the basis of whose complaint Kejriwal had referred the issue to ACB. The petitions seeking the quashing of the FIR had not made Kejriwal or his Aam Admi Party a party to the case. The Kejriwal government had directed ACB to file the FIR on the basis of a complaint for former secretary, Dr EAS Sharma, lawyer Kamini Jasiwal, former Cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian and Admiral RH Tahiliani, former Chief of Naval Staff and former Chairperson of Transparency International India. The intervention application was moved by AAP leader and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan who argued that allegations of mala fide couldn’t be levelled against anybody who was not party to a case. The application claimed that despite repeated complaints and the CAG report no investigation was carried out into the allegations by the Central government. “When information of cognizable offences being committed in its territory was received by the Delhi Government, and these were forwarded to ACB, which is the police station under the Prevention of Corruption Act, there was no discretion left but to register an FIR,” it said. It also disagreed with the central government’s argument that the Delhi’s authorities are not authorised to probe an offence allegedly committed by the Centre. “It amounts to arguing that state police cannot investigate theft of railway property since railways is a central subject,” it said.
Delhi High Court also issued notices on an intervention application filed by prominent people, which was the basis for Kejriwal to refer the issue to ACB