HC Asks Govt and RIL to Co­op­er­ate with Delhi ACB

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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

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