Maneka Gandhi graft case: Delhi High Court issues notice to CBI

Maneka Gandhi. File photo.  

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the CBI on a petition by BJP MP Maneka Gandhi challenging a trial court order rejecting the closure report and directing the investigating agency to further probe a graft case against her.

Justice Yogesh Khanna also stayed the trial court’s February 4, 2020, order to the extent it directed the CBI to place the material it has before the Sanctioning Authority for her prosecution.

The case relates to a complaint filed against Ms. Gandhi and two others over an alleged sanction of ₹ 50 lakh to the Gandhi Rural Welfare Trust (GWRT) for constructing a nursing college building at Pilibhit when she was the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Social Justice and Empowerment in the years 1998 to 2001.

‘Targeted by a political opponent’

Ms. Gandhi, represented through advocates Tanveer Ahmed Mir and Prateek Som, said she had been targeted by a political opponent, who had indulged in making false and frivolous allegations against her.

The trial court, in its order, had rejected the CBI’s closure report, noting that “on the basis of the record which is before the court, it appears that there was a conspiracy amongst the accused”.

It had also asked the CBI to, during the course of further investigation, place before the Sanctioning Authority the record of the present case to consider the issue whether to grant sanction or not for the prosecution of the public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Ms. Gandhi contended in her petition that the trial court had directed the investigating agency to place the matter before the Sanctioning Authority, despite the fact that the CBI investigators themselves have come to a categorical conclusion that there is no criminal culpability on her part in two consecutive and successive closure reports - one in 2010 and last one in 2015.

Ms Gandhi also contended that the trial court directions for further investigation have been issued “without providing any significant and specific pointers to the investigating authorities for the purposes of such further investigation”.

In 2010, the trial court rejected the first closure report filed by the CBI and directed that the matter should be reinvestigated. The CBI, after conducting further investigation, filed a closure report again in 2015 before the trial court, which later culminated in the February 4 order.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:51:08 AM |

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