In a setback for Bharatiya Janata Party MP Natubhai Patel, the Bombay high court refused to quash an FIR registered against him in a disproportionate assets case.
The FIR was registered by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act for disproportion of assets and expenditure of Rs. 2,18,96,689 between 2001 and 2009.
Appearing for Patel, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani said no preliminary inquiry had been conducted before filing the FIR, which is the norm for registering offences against a public servant. The CBI pointed out that a discreet verification was conducted. A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AR Joshi called for a sealed copy of the report.
The court noted that extensive verification including scrutiny by the income tax authorities was done since October 2010 before registering the FIR on February 21 this year.
The CBI said it would taker steps to transfer the FIR after Jethmalani submitted that the case has arisen within Dadra & Nagar Haveli when Patel was a member of the Municipal Council of Silvassa. The court, however, continued the interim relief for taking no coercive action unless a 72-hour notice was given, for a period of two weeks.