Kerala High Court stays CBI probe into LIFE Mission project

The CBI probe into the alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violation in the acceptance of funds from the UAE-based Red Crescent for the Wadakkanchery LIFE Mission housing project was stayed by the Kerala High Court for two months.

The order was passed on a petition moved by U. V. Jose, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mission.

In his judgment, Justice V.G. Arun noted that the provisions of the FCRA and the materials on record did not justify arraying the petitioner as the accused in the case.

The CBI had booked the case for FCRA violation on a complaint by Anil Akkara, the Congress MLA representing Wadakkanchery Assembly Constituency.

Petitioner’s contention

The counsel for the petitioner had contended that the complaint in the case did not make out even a prima facie case and the hasty manner in which the crime was registered indicated a deliberate attempt to malign the State government.

He also contended that the allegations in the complaint, even if accepted in their entirety, were inadequate to implicate the petitioner or other officials of the Mission.

The order

In his order, the judge noted that “undisputedly, LIFE Mission has not received any foreign contribution directly from the sponsor. The amount received by Unitac Builders and Developers and Sane Ventures LLP, in terms of the agreement entered between them and the foreign source being towards the cost in lieu of goods or services rendered in the ordinary course of business, is exempted” from the Section 3 of the Act, which deals with prohibition from accepting foreign contribution.

A careful perusal of the Section shows that the prohibition against acceptance of foreign contribution is applicable only to the categorises specification under the Sub Section (1) of the Section 3 of the Act. The contention that Life Mission would fall under Section 3 (1) (c) is liable to be rejected on a plain reading of the Section and by applying the ejusdem generis (of the same kind) rule, the judge noted.

Hence LIFE Mission or the builders do not fall under any of the categories enumerated on Section 3 (1), the court ordered.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 3:06:09 PM |

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