The Special Task Force (STF), which is investigating the multi-layered scam Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, has described governor Ramnaresh Yadav’s petition seeking annulment of the FIR against him in the case as “devoid of any merit and substance.”
Filing a reply on behalf of the investigating agency, additional advocate general Purshottam Kaurav told the court that the petition “deserves to be dismissed with costs.”
Challenging the grounds on which the immunity was invoked, Kaurav said: “Immunity of the governor is only limited to the duration of his office. He will be liable to prosecution thereafter for any offences committed by him personally...Framers of the Indian Constitution consciously used the words ‘in any court during his term of office’,” he said.
Expressing apprehension that the evidence against the governor may get diluted or destroyed by the time he demits office, he said, “The Article 361(2) (of the Indian Constitution), which grants immunity to the governor against criminal proceedings till the time he is in office, prohibits institution of criminal proceedings in any court but does not prohibit investigation by the police authorities.”
Responding to the governor’s counsel Ram Jethmalani’s contention that registration of FIR virtually entails matter being referred to court as a copy of the FIR has to be sent to magistrate concerned, Kaurav said: “The language of section 157 of the CrPC clearly shows that magistrate has to receive a copy of the FIR in his executive capacity. The magistrate does not require to register any formal case or take up any proceeding whatsoever.”
Kaurav said during investigation of the crime (number 539/13), a hard disc was seized on July 26, 2013 from the computer of Nitin Mahindra, the senior system analyst of PEB and main accused in the scam. The disc, a STF report dated November 22, 2014 said, one excel sheet relating to the forest guard recruitment test contained names of 87 candidates, some of whom were recommended by the governor.
(With inputs from Neelesh Chaudhary)