CBI institutes enquiry into Rs. 570 crore transfer

Pursuant to a recent directive of the Madras High Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation has instituted a preliminary enquiry into alleged irregularities in the transport of Rs.570 crore from Coimbatore to Visakhapatnam by the State Bank of India (SBI) ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

An Election Commission flying squad had seized the cash from three containers near Tirupur on May 14, two days before the Tamil Nadu polls. Soon thereafter, the SBI issued a statement stressing that the movement of currency was duly authorised by the Reserve Bank of India and had all necessary approvals.

Foul play alleged

However, DMK Rajya Sabha MP T.K.S. Elangovan had alleged foul play in the incident and moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to order a probe by the CBI into the case.

In its order dated July 4, the High Court directed the CBI to conduct a probe, stating: “If a prima facie case is made out, the CBI shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law.”

Criminal petition

The order came on a criminal original petition by the DMK alleging irregularities. It was alleged that the currency bundles bore seals of another bank.

CBI spokesperson R.K. Gaur on Monday said: “The agency has, accordingly, registered a preliminary enquiry into the allegations.” In case a cognisable offence is made out, a case will be registered, he said.

The agency had earlier submitted before the High Court that: “The entire complaint has only versions of serious doubts. The complaint is not against any particular bank official or person. It vaguely states that the offences have been committed by some high level officers of SBI. Whether cognisable offences can be made out based on ‘serious doubts’ is the primary question.”

However, objecting to contentions of the investigating agency, the petitioner’s counsel said it was CBI’s duty to register a case the moment a complaint was made alleging commission of a cognisable offence.

“The Apex Court has made it clear that the agency cannot go into the truthfulness of the case at the complaint stage. When a criminal compliant is made under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the CBI must conduct preliminary enquiry. Even if the complaint does not make out a cognisable offence, they must close the case and inform the complainant about it,” said the counsel.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 1:32:07 PM |

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