Delhi

Delhi ACB’s role restricted

more-in

The Court was hearing a writ petition challenging the first information report registered against former Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily and others.

A recent notification of the Union Government has restricted the jurisdiction of the Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to probing graft cases filed against State Government employees alone. As a result, the ACB will not probe the case against former Union Ministers in connection with the pricing of natural gas extracted by Reliance Industries Limited.

Providing this information to the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, the counsel representing the Delhi Government sought time to place the July 23 notification on record and file its fresh reply in the “changed circumstances”. The Court was hearing a writ petition challenging the first information report registered against former Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily and others.

The Aam Aadmi Party-led government had registered an FIR against Mr. Moily, former Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani and former Director-General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal for their alleged collusion in pricing of gas from KG6 basin.

All of them were so far facing probe under Section 13 (1)(c) and (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

The AAP had alleged that the Congress and the BJP had colluded with each other to allow RIL to raise the gas prices with an eye on the 2014 general election.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Delhi Government and ACB, told the Bench of Justice V. K. Shali that the new notification had taken away the ACB's jurisdiction to investigate the Union Government employees in corruption cases.

Posting the matter for further hearing on October 16, the Court asked the Delhi Government and ACB to file their fresh replies in the light of the recent development.

The ACB had earlier sought dismissal of the writ petition, moved by RIL, even as the High Court had restrained it from taking any “coercive action” against any of the accused. However, the Court had allowed the ACB to continue with its probe into the matter.

Reacting to the Delhi Government’s stand before the High Court, the AAP said the Centre had “arm-twisted” the Delhi administration to do a U-turn in the case. “The stand before the High Court to curtail the ACB's powers is the most blatant example of the ruling party's direct and shameful compromise with corruption,” said AAP in a statement issued here.

The AAP said it would intervene in the matter legally and would not allow the conspiracy to “kill the ACB” to succeed. The party alleged that the BJP was trying to bail out RIL and former Ministers of the previous UPA regime despite their direct involvement in the Rs.54,000 crore gas pricing scam.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Delhi
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:19:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-acbs-role-restricted/article6333687.ece

Next Story