The state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) can register a first information report against Congress leader Kripashankar Singh and his wife for allegedly holding assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, the Bombay high court said on Thursday.
A first information report is the first stage of investigation in a criminal offence.
The court clarified that the investigating agency was free to take action as required by law.
"Do not wait for our orders [to probe into the case] considering the matter is sub judice. Do whatever the law requires you to do in view of the prima facie conclusion drawn by the agency," the division bench, comprising chief justice Mohit Shah and justice DG Karnik, told advocate general Ravi Kadam.
The judges were referring to the ACB's conclusion that a case was made out against Mumbai Regional Congress Committee chief and his wife, Maltidevi,
for allegedly holding disproportionate assets, an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by social activist Sanjay Tiwari who claimed that Singh, who had migrated to the city in the early 70s and initially worked as vegetable vendor, and his family members have amassed property worth Rs250 crore using his political clout.
Besides listing a number of immovable properties acquired by the Singhs, Tiwari also furnished records reflecting cash transactions totalling to Rs60 crore from bank accounts held by Kripashankar's son Narendra in the last few years.
On Thursday, Kadam submitted a report indicating the progress in ACB's investigation, and additional solicitor general Darius Khambata submitted reports of further investigations conducted by the income-tax (I-T) department and the enforcement directorate.
All three agencies are investigating the allegations of disproportionate assets held by Singh and his family members.
Referring to the contents of the I-T report, the bench pointed out that most of the money received by Singh were "gifts" received during his son Narendra's wedding.
When the court asked if the gifts and marriage expenses were reflected in Singh's I-T returns, Khambata expressed inability to reply to the query for want of information.
Tiwari had also alleged that there was a link between the money laundering scam, which allegedly involved former chief minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda, and Singh.
But, the enforcement directorate has not yet found any connection between the properties held by Singh and the scam.