ASG opined Govt ap­proval not needed for FIR against Asthana: Verma to HC

The Hitavada - - NATION -

BIT­TER feud be­tween CBI Di­rec­tor Alok Verma and Spe­cial Di­rec­tor Rakesh Asthana resur­faced on Fri­day in the Delhi High Court when Asthana claimed that prior Gov­ern­ment nod was needed for lodg­ing FIR against him and DSP Deven­der Ku­mar in a graft case, a sub­mis­sion which was ve­he­mently de­nied by his se­nior.

In re­sponse to Asthana’s plea chal­leng­ing the FIR, Verma said in his af­fi­davit that Ad­di­tional Solic­i­tor Gen­eral (ASG) P S Narasimha’s view was sought by the CBI on the need for prior Gov­ern­ment ap­proval to lodge an FIR against pub­lic ser­vants fac­ing al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and he had opined that it was not re­quired.

Asthana’s sub­mis­sion be­fore Jus­tice Na­jmi Waziri was coun­tered by CBI, Verma and Joint Di­rec­tor A K Sharma who ar­gued that no sanc­tion was re­quired as the al­le­ga­tions against the two of­fi­cers were not in re­la­tion to the dis­charge of their du­ties or any rec­om­men­da­tion made or de­ci­sion taken by them.

Se­nior ad­vo­cates Amaren­dra Sha­ran and Dayan Kr­ish­nan, ap­pear­ing for Asthana and Ku­mar re­spec­tively, told the court that the Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion (CVC) had sent two com­mu­ni­ca­tions in Oc­to­ber this year to CBI ask­ing it not to reg­is­ter an FIR or take ac­tion against the two of­fi­cers with­out prior ap­proval.

They ar­gued that sec­tion 17A of the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act makes it manda­tory that prior ap­proval has to be taken be­fore lodg­ing an FIR or ini­ti­at­ing pre­lim­i­nary en­quiry against a pub­lic ser­vant.

“It was de­lib­er­ately and know­ingly given a go-bye,” they ar­gued and urged the court to call for the files, in­clud­ing the case di­aries, to as­cer­tain the rea­son for this step. “He can­not on his own de­cide not to in­voke 17A. He has to record rea­sons why it was not ap­pli­ca­ble,” Kr­ish­nan ar­gued.

The court asked the CBI about the ef­fect of such a CVC com­mu­ni­ca­tion to take prior ap­proval. “As­sum­ing there is a di­rec­tion like that, what would be your stand? Will it stay your hands,” the court asked to which Ad­di­tional Solic­i­tor Gen­eral (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, ap­pear­ing for CBI, said he will need to go through the com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­fore an­swer­ing.

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