Kerala

HC stays CB probe in Jacob Thomas case

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Alleged benami transaction of property at Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stayed a Crime Branch (CB) investigation ordered by the State government into the allegation that Jacob Thomas, Director General of Police and now Chairman and Managing Director, Metal Industries Ltd, Shoranur, had made benami transaction of property at Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu

Justice Ashok Menon, while staying the investigation, directed the State government to file a counter-affidavit in two weeks.

The stay order was passed on a petition filed by Mr. Thomas challenging the government order directing the Crime Branch to investigate the complaint against Mr. Thomas under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act.

Subject of IT inquiry

He said the allegation of his holding benami property had been a subject of inquiry by the income tax authorities. It was alleged that the petitioner was the benamidar of a property of a company named ISRA Agro Tech Systems Pvt limited.

He pointed out that the property was located in Tamil Nadu and the State police or State government had absolutely no jurisdiction to conduct any inquiry or investigation into the alleged transaction. Besides, a complaint in this regard could be filed only by an officer of the Central government or officer authorised by the State government. In the instant case, the complaint was filed by a third party.

Moreover, there was no reference to the investigation or inquiry by any police officers of the State into such offences under the Act.

Therefore, the government order authorising the Crime Branch to conduct an investigation had no legal validity.

In fact, only those officers who were specified under Section 18 of the Act could conduct any inquiry into the allegation of the benami transaction. Therefore, an investigation by the police officer was totally barred.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:32:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-stays-cb-probe-in-jacob-thomas-case/article30517110.ece

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