Chennai: Expressing dissatisfaction over the investigation and noting that the default amount indicated in the chargesheet may not reflect the correct amount, the Madras HC has directed the DSP (Economic Offences Wing), Madurai, to hold fair and quality investigation in the case relating to Disc Assets Lead (India) Limited, which cheated the depositors to the tune of Rs 760 crore by collecting Rs 1,137 crore from 10.40 lakh depositors.
A division bench comprising Justices M. Sathya-narayanan and N. Sesha-sayee also directed the Additional Director General of Police (EOW), Madurai, to monitor the case and hereafter, shall file status reports as to the progress made in the further investigation.
Calling the matter on November 21(1) for filing of Status report by the EOW as to the progress made, in the further investigation, (ii) to consider the request made by Committee of administrators, to fix the guideline value as the upset price for reauction of the 10 properties and (iii) for filing the Report of the Registrar of Companies, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chennai, the bench added.
The bench said it was pointed out by the respective senior counsels appearing for the Committee of Administrators that the Chairman of the administrator committee has made a statement that the investigating officer, without fully investigating the matter has filed the charge sheet on July 27, 2019 stating that 6 companies and 14 accused persons had defaulted in repayment of a sum of Rs 5, 29, 74, 343 and hence,TANPID Court, Madu-rai has assigned a CC No 9 of 2019, despite the fact that the total number of persons cheated were 10,40,000 and the amount involved was Rs 1,137.30 crore.
It was also brought to the knowledge of the court by the respective senior counsels appearing for the Committee of administrators that the accused has filed a petition under section 5 (A) of the TANPID Act, seeking permission of TANPID Court, to compound the offences and by taking advantage of filing of the said petition and on the pretext of obtaining orders from the TANPID Court, the accused may compound the offence without repaying the amount to the depositors, who were more than 10 lakh in number. Hence, the senior counsel appearing for the Administrator Committee, prayed for a direction of this court to stay all further proceedings in CC No.9 of 2019, the bench added.
The bench said per contra Additional public prosecutor K.Prabhakar appearing for the state submitted that the DSP has filed an application praying for further investigation under section 173 (8) of Cr.P.C. before the Special Court under TANPID Cases Madurai and the Special Judge vide order dated September 6, 2019 has accorded permission to the DSP/Investigation Officer, Economic Offences Wing, Madurai, having office at Tirunelveli, to further investigate the case in Crime No.6 of 2016 on the file of EOW, Madurai and therefore, the apprehension expressed by Committee of administrators that the chargesheet will be taken cognizance and petition filed by the accused concerned for compounding the offences, may be considered and orders were likely to be passed, was wholly unfounded.
“In so far as the apprehension expressed by the committee of administrators, as to taking the charge sheet on file and entertainment of application for compounding the offence, and in the light of the order dated September 6, 2019 passed by the Special Judge, Special Court under TANPID Act cases, Madurai granting permission for further investigation in Crime No.6 of 2016, it is needless to state that unless and until further investigation is completed and additional charge sheet is filed, further proceedings cannot go on,” the bench added.
The bench said in spite of the fact that all the earlier orders were directed to be communicated to the Investigating Officer and copies of the orders have also been uploaded in the website and despite the investigating officials were aware of the magnitude of the case, especially the alleged huge amount to be paid to the depositors concerned, it prima facie appears that the Investigating Officer, without taking proper note of the said orders, had laid the charge sheet stating that a sum of Rs 5, 29, 74, 343 have not been paid to depositors. “This court has also taken note of the fact that the actual amount of default indicated in the charge sheet may not reflect the correct amount and it was also pointed out by the respective senior counsels appearing for the committee of administrators. Thereafter only, leave to grant further investigation was sought. Hence, DSP (EOW), Madurai having office at Tirunelveli for the present is to conduct fair and quality investigation in Crime No.6 of 2016 on the file of EOW, Madurai and the EOW shall monitor the case and hereafter, shall file Status Reports as to the progress made in the further investigation,” the bench added.