The Madras High Court has directed the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences II) at Egmore in Chennai to try together two criminal cases, one registered in 1996 and another in 2001, against former Member of Parliament T.T.V. Dhinakaran on charges of acquiring huge amount of foreign exchange without the permission of Reserve of Bank of India.

Justice C.T. Selvam also directed the Magistrate to complete the trial and dispose of both cases within six months.

The orders were passed while disposing of a criminal revision petition filed by Mr. Dhinakaran challenging an order passed by the Magistrate on January 27 this year, thereby refusing to club both the complaints and conduct a single trial in respect of them.

The judge held that the Magistrate had rightly rejected such a plea as it was not in consonance with an order passed by the High Court on September 12, 2008. He recalled that the former MP had moved the High Court once in 2007 to club both the cases on the ground that the second case came to surface only during the investigation of the first case and hence it ought to have been treated as a supplementary case and not as a separate case.

Disposing of his petition in September 2008, the High Court gave liberty to the petitioner to file an application before the Magistrate to try both the cases together. Instead of filing a petition as directed, the petitioner filed an application to consolidate both the complaints and try them as one case.

“This is a far cry from a prayer seeking that both cases be tried as one and the same… We find that the 1996 case has seen some progress as it is informed that the prosecution witnesses stand examined in chief, while the trial in the 2001 case is yet to make a beginning. Therefore, it is still not too late in the day to follow the course suggested under orders of this court in 1998,” Mr. Justice Selvam said and ordered the lower court to dispose of both the cases within six months.

The Enforcement Directorate had registered the first case in 1996 accusing Mr. Dinakaran of having received US$ 36,36,000 in 1994-95 though he was not an authorised dealer in foreign exchange. He was booked under various provisions of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The second case was booked on the charge that he had acquired foreign exchange totalling to $ 1,04,93,313.

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