The Madras High Court has apologised to the Supreme Court for taking six years to dispose of a writ petition filed by an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer accused of extorting ₹3 crore from a woman involved in an economic offence and not keeping up the hope and trust that the apex court had reposed on the High Court in 2015 by expecting it to dispose of the case at the earliest.
Dismissing the writ petition now, Justice C.V. Karthikeyan wrote: “I must append a note of apology. The High Court had not kept up the hope and trust of the honourable Supreme Court. The matter was heard in full after more than six years (since the Supreme Court had directed the High Court to take a relook into the matter) and the controversy is hopefully disposed of by this order.”
The judge pointed out that the petitioner Pramod Kumar was serving as Inspector General of Police (West Zone) in 2009 when a case was booked by Tirupur Central Crime Branch against three directors of Pazee Forex Trading India Private Limited. They were accused of accepting deposits worth crores from the public by promising attractive returns.
Subsequently, one of the directors Kamalavali Arumugam went missing on December 8, 2009 and a woman missing case was booked at Tirupur North Police Station. The woman surfaced on December 11, 2009 and she claimed to the police that she was abducted by unknown persons.
However, on further inquiry, the woman accused Inspector of Police V. Mohan Raj of having demanded ₹3 crore from her for not taking action against her in the economic offence case.
She also claimed to have enacted a drama of getting abducted and told the police that she had already paid ₹2.95 crore since she was subjected to threats and harassment.
Thereafter, the woman missing case was altered into a case of extortion. During interrogation, the Inspector reportedly told the sleuths that he got involved into the issue only on the instructions of the then IG (west zone).
CB-CID issued summons to the IG and questioned him. Meanwhile, disposing of a criminal petition filed by the investors of Pazee, the High Court transferred the investigation in the economic offences case as well as the extortion case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) since they were connected.
The CBI arrested the IG on May 2, 2012. He filed a writ petition in August 2012 to restrain the CBI from investigating the case since it had not obtained prior sanction from the Centre to prosecute him. A single judge dismissed the writ petition on December 5, 2012.
A writ appeal was also dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court on April 29, 2013. However, when the matter was taken on further appeal, the Supreme Court on March 17, 2015 remanded the writ petition to the High Court for a fresh hearing. In the meantime, the CBI filed final reports before two different special courts in the economic offence case as well as the extortion case.
While the trial had commenced in the economic offence case, the extortion case was kept in suspended animation due to Supreme Court orders. Dismissing the 2012 writ petition once again after a full fledged hearing, Justice Karthikeyan directed the special court for CBI cases to proceed since prima facie materials were available against the accused.