State nod not needed for CBI probe: SC

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Published on Apr 25, 2020 11:30 PM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Central Bureau of Investigation need not take a state government’s consent for investigating offences committed within union territories by state government employees acting in their official capacity, giving federal authorities more power to investigate state officials.

The requirement under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946 (DSPE Act), which mandates the CBI should obtain consent of the state before exercising its jurisdiction over any area which is not a union territory, will not apply in such a case, the top court held.

“The consent of the State under Section 6 cannot come in the way or constrict the jurisdiction of the special police force to investigate specified offences under Section 3 of the 1946 Act committed within the Union Territories”, the bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari ruled.

The CBI can investigate such cases even though the accused is residing in a state, is in employment and committed the offence in his or her capacity as a state government employee, the court made it clear.

The petitioner in the case, Kanwal Tanuj, was an IAS officer employed in connection with the affairs of the Bihar government as District Magistrate at Aurangabad District in Bihar.

He was accused of large scale corruption and siphoning of government funds during the construction of an electric plant by Bhartiya Rail Bijli Company Limited (BRBCL) at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district of Bihar.

It was alleged that there was corruption and siphoning of government funds during land acquisition for the plant by BRBCL officials in connivance with local district administration including the petitioner.

FIR was registered against him by the CBI for the offences of cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and for offence of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It was petitioner’s case that the offence alleged against him was committed in his capacity as employee of state of Bihar and therefore, would require the consent of Bihar government as per section 6 of the DSPE Act before the CBI can proceed against him.

The Supreme Court, however, turned down the argument noting that the registered office of BRBCL is within the jurisdiction of Union Territory of Delhi and the offence was committed at Delhi, and therefore, courts in Delhi will have jurisdiction to try the offence.

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