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Govt must get free hand to probe PNB fraud, PIL is not publicity interest litigation: SC

The CBI has already registered two FIRs against Nirav Modi, his relative Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Gems and others for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 11,400 crore.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2018 23:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PNB fraud,Supreme Court,Nirav Modi
A security guard outside a Nirav Modi showroom during a raid by Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on February 15, 2018. (Reuters)

An argument broke out on Wednesday between Supreme Court judges and an advocate who wanted the Chief Justice of India-led bench to issue a notice to the government on his petition seeking an investigation into the Rs 11,000 crore PNB fraud case.

Apex court judge DY Chandrachud said the petitioner, advocate Vineet Dhanda, was “misusing the PIL platform” and called his plea a “Publicity Interest Litigation”.

The argument between the bench and Dhanda broke out when the advocate insisted that the court must seek a written response from the government on his petition. “The government is answerable to this court. Morale of the citizens is very low at this juncture. Interest of the whole country is involved,” Dhanda submitted.

The lawyer made the argument after the court said it would prefer to hear Attorney General KK Venugopal’s side because he had raised objection to the petition’s maintainability. “I oppose this petition. Investigation is on, arrests have been made and such a petition should not be entertained,” the AG had said.

Dhanda, however, refused to budge, prompting the bench to pull him up. “Do not make emotional arguments. Address us on the legal issue. The AG is opposing your petition on maintainability. If you are keen to take up this cause then you come well prepared on the next date,” the bench said.

“The way you are arguing, it seems you are keen to get publicity. This petition has been filed on the basis of media reports. Your prayer is to direct the government to investigate but have you made an averment that there is not probe done so far. Do not play to the gallery,” said Justice Chandrachud.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 21:03 IST