The Delhi High Court on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for prosecution of former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffar Sharief in a corruption case by dismissing his petition against rejection of closure reports filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and taking cognisance of the charge-sheet by a special court here in 2008.
The investigating agency has charged Mr. Sharief with allegedly taking along with him three officials and a Railway Ministry driver to London for personal services when he had gone there for an open heart surgery in 1995. He had sent the three officials on a temporary deputation at public sector companies RITES and IRCON and then got the two companies to sponsor their tour with him.
The charge-sheet further said that Mr. Sharief had pressurised the then managing directors of the two public sector companies to approve the tour of B.N. Nagesh, then Additional P.S. to the Minister, S.M. Masthan and V. Murlidharn, stenos in the Minister's Cell. The driver of the Ministry, C.H. Samaulla, a relative of Mr. Sharief, had gone to London on a co-terminus basis.
The then Director of IRCON had at that time said that the four persons were sent to London due to pressure by the Minister.
The agency had filed two closure reports in the special court urging it to close the case on the ground of lack of prosecution sanction under section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The special judge had rejected both the closure reports and taken cognisance of the charge-sheet, saying that there was no need for a prosecution sanction as the Minister had ceased to be a public servant at the time of taking cognisance of the charge-sheet.
Thereafter, Mr. Jaffar had filed a petition in the special court challenging cognisance of the charge-sheet submitting that there was no requirement of sanction for his prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The special judge had dismissed his petition saying that there was no requirement for a prosecution sanction under section 197 of the Code as well as “the act of the accused, being beyond the scope and range of his official duty, would not be covered under the purported discharge of his duty.”
Justice M.L. Mehta said: “It is not the part of the duty of a public servant while discharging his official duty to enter into a criminal conspiracy or to indulge in criminal misconduct. Thus, I find no illegality or infirmity in the impugned order of the learned special judge, CBI.”