SC asks CBI to act as per law on seizure of cash, documents from Aditya Birla Group's office

PTI
Published Oct 13, 2015, 1:38 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 12:27 pm IST
CBI had said the recovery of money and documents had no nexus with coal scam
Representational Image.
 Representational Image.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked CBI to act in accordance with law on the issue of registration of an FIR into the alleged seizure of unaccounted cash worth Rs 25 crore, a diary and other incriminating documents from Aditya Birla Group's Corporate Office here in 2013.

Dealing with a plea of NGO Common Cause that an FIR was required to be registered without delay, the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri said it "appears" that CBI has recovered certain documents and the probe agency would be free to take a decision on it.

 

"We are not commenting on whether these documents are disclosing any offence or not, it is for CBI to take action. We expect CBI to act on all the informations that have been disclosed and to take action in accordance with the law and the provisions of CrPC and the law laid down by this court," the bench said.

The bench also said that since the matter, as per CBI, was not connected with the coal block allocation scam, it does not propose to monitor it.

During the hearing, Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, cited a constitution bench judgement and said the CBI was under a legal obligation to register an FIR. The recovered documents allegedly indicate payments to politicians and political groups, he claimed.

 

Bhushan also opposed the CBI's plea that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was looking into the aspect of seizure of cash and documents saying the ED cannot probe money laundering aspect unless an FIR is lodged by the CBI or other agency.

"An FIR is already registered in the Hindalco matter and that is why the ED was doing the inquiry," senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for CBI, said.

Bhushan, at the end of the hearing, submitted that the NGO's plea also raises the issue of diversion of coal block, meant for setting up the Ultra Mega Power Project and hence be kept alive till the court-appointed panel gives its report.

 

"We will await the report of (former CBI special director) M L Sharma," the bench said.

Earlier, the CBI had said the recovery of money and documents had "no nexus" with the coal scam.

While CBI had maintained that the case has to be delinked from coal scam and considered separately under ordinary criminal law, the NGO had charged the agency with washing its hands off by not bringing it to the apex court's jurisdiction, along with main coal scam cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

However, advocate Prashant Bhushan had referred to the Niira Radia tape case and said a similar situation had arisen there too and the apex court had come out with the order calling for probe in continuity with the telecom scam.

 

The bench was hearing the application filed by the NGO through Bhushan, which also sought a probe into the group's alleged hawala transactions, which cropped up during the probe of the coal scam and permission granted for alleged diversion of coal from the block allotted to Reliance ADAG's Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh.

Earlier, the court had sought the responses of CBI and ED for a probe into Aditya Birla Group's alleged hawala transactions, which had cropped up during the coal scam probe.

It had also sought responses on the permission granted for alleged diversion of coal from the block allotted to Reliance ADAG's Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh.

 

The NGO had cited media reports, which had claimed that the search operations conducted on October 15, 2013 by CBI at Aditya Birla Group's Corporate Office in the capital allegedly led to the recovery of a huge stash of unaccounted cash worth Rs 25 crore besides a diary and other incriminating documents. The Group has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.

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