Though the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that persons figuring in the list of accused in a criminal case are summoned and formally arrested on filing of the charge sheet, former chief minister Ashok Chavan and bureaucrats Jairaj Phatak and Pradeep Vyas, chargesheeted in the Adarsh housing society scam, may not even be summoned by the special court of Central bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the agency is yet to obtain sanction to prosecute them, say legal experts.
Noted lawyer and former IPS officer YP Singh said the CBI will need to obtain sanction from the governor to prosecute Chavan, and from the president to act against the two IAS officers.
Singh, who has served in the CBI, alleged that the central agency has deliberately left these loopholes unplugged to give undue advantage to some of the accused in the scam. Pointing towards the incomplete investigation with respect to suspected benami transactions, he said such disjointed investigation is held by the Supreme Court to be inconsistent with provisions of the CrPC.
He, however, said that the nine accused arrested in the scam may have to spend time behind bars again since they have been granted bail by the courts on technical grounds — the CBI’s failure to file the charge sheet within the stipulated 60 days.
Noted criminal lawyer Amin Solkar, however, said that arresting an accused is not a precondition. “Not every accused is required to be arrested and it is only for the purpose of investigation or for recovering some material,” the lawyer said.
On filing of a charge sheet by the investigating agency, the accused are summoned by the court and formally arrested, if not arrested earlier, but are generally released on bail immediately.
About the nine accused arrested and bailed out subsequently, Solkar said the court generally continues their bail on filing of the charge sheet. “It depends on the gravity of the offence, and some of the bailed accused may be required to spend time in jail on filing of the charge sheet if the role played by them is grave enough,” he said.
However, it is mandatory for every bailed accused to attend the court on every hearing after filing of the charge sheet. They can remain absent only with prior permission of the court.