NSEL scam | Unable to conduct inquiry against Chidambaram without approval, says CBI

P. Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram  

The CBI on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that due to the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, the agency is unable to conduct enquiry/investigation in the National Stock Exchange Limited (NSEL) scam allegedly involving former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram without approval of the competent authority.

The affidavit was filed in a criminal petition filed by 63 Moons Technologies limited also known as Financial Technologies Indian Limited. The company was founded by industrialist Jignesh Shah who was also the former chairman. He was arrested on July 12 in connection with the ₹5,600-crore NSEL scam. Over 13,000 investors have allegedly lost money due to alleged malpractices by the directors and promoters of the NSEL.

A criminal complaint has been registered against Mr. Chidambaram, Ramesh Abhishek, the then Chairman, Forward Markets Commission, and KP Krishnan, then Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, for allegedly causing loss to the petitioner by committing various offences under the Indian Penal Code and the PC Act. The complaint alleged that the accused abused his official position and the machinery of the government to create and cause undue favour to NSEL and the National Commodity and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) promoted by the National Stock Exchange for creating a market monopoly to the detriment of the companies of the complainant.

A six-page affidavit was filed by Rakesh Kumar, Inspector, CBI, that said, “In the absence of any supporting documents in support of the allegations from the complainant and due to the technical nature of the compliant, it was decided to forward it to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance for expert examination at their end and also to revert back after expert examination if allegations are substantiated prima facie. It was informed in the letter to the CVI, DEA that the matter may be reverted back to the CBI along with due approval of the competent authority of the PC Act for taking up formal enquiry/investigation in the matter.”

“There is legislative embargo vide section 17-A of PC Act, which lays down that ‘Enquiry or Inquiry or investigation of offences relatable to recommendations made or decision taken by public servant in discharge of official functions or duties’,” it mentioned.

It said, “Presently without the approval under Section 17-A of the PC Act, CBI is unable to conduct enquiry/investigation.”

An earlier version of this article wrongly stated that P. Chidambaram faces charges. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 1:39:06 AM |

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