Tracking the probe on Sekhar Reddy's illegal money trail — Gold, cash and murky deals

CBI gets two-day custody of Sekhar Reddy, associates

A special court for Central Bureau of Investigation cases on Wednesday granted the CBI two-day custody of industrialist Sekhar Reddy and his associates Srinivasulu and Prem Kumar who were arrested on charges of possessing ₹8 crore cash in ₹2,000 denomination.

Pronouncing his order, XI Additional Special Judge for CBI cases K. Venkatasamy directed the CBI to ensure that no third degree methods were adopted and the accused were brought back in the same state of health as they were being taken.

Reiterating that the investigation officer’s questions should only be relevant to the charges made in the FIR, Mr. Venkatasamy said the CBI should furnish the list of bank officials who colluded with the accused (in getting the new currency) while producing the accused after two days and there should be no attempt to record any false statement from them.

Mr. Venkatasamy said while banks had no cash to disburse to the people and a majority of ATMs were closed down, the accused managed to get so much money within one month of printing. “This could not have happened with the assistance of branch level bank officials. The Reserve Bank of India would have clear information how the money reached the accused on the basis of serial numbers on the notes… they will have knowledge on when and where that consignment of notes was actually sent. Did you enquire the highest authority in the Reserve Bank of India in this case,” the Judge asked the CBI officials.

Charge against CBI

Earlier, senior counsel for the accused I. Subramanian said there could be no two FIRs based on the same source of information. The CBI had suppressed the fact that its earlier petition seeking custody of the accused was dismissed by another court. Though this is a different FIR, the facts and circumstances of the case were the same. The new cases arose out of the same set of facts.

The defence counsel argued that investigating agency had split the case into two to suit its convenience. “The CBI had accepted the dismissal of its petition seeking custody in the first FIR and did not challenge it. Now, they are suppressing that fact before this court and seeking custody based on a second FIR that was registered with the only intention to take custody of the accused. Some fairness was expected of the CBI,” he said.

Senior Public Prosecutor M.V. Dinakar, representing the CBI, said the accused had obtained several crores of new currency notes within days after they were printed. Even as people died without food or standing in long queues for one ₹2,000 note, the accused had sourced huge volume of new currency with the connivance of some people.

“They cannot seek the protection of law envisaged under the Constitution to keep silence. This is a fit case for custodial interrogation. They have to explain how they got so much money since it is their exclusive knowledge,” he said, and added that the court could not brush aside the sufferings of the people who accepted the policy of the government to safeguard the economy.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:13:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cbi-gets-two-day-custody-of-sekhar-reddy-associates/article16989571.ece1

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