HC quashes CBI case against VANPIC

Telangana High Court on Thursday quashed the criminal case of quid pro quo registered by the CBI against Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Industrial Corridor (VANPIC), a corporate entity that planned an industrial park between the districts of Guntur and Prakasam in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State.

The HC bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan allowed the criminal petition filed by M/s Vanpic Projects Private Limited, represented by its general manager P. K. Ravi, quashing criminal prosecution of the company pending on the file of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases court in Nampally. The corporate entity challenged the action of the CBI court in taking cognizance of the alleged offences attributed to it.

The petitioner’s counsel T. Niranjan Reddy, contending that CBI court did not apply its mind while taking cognizance of the case, argued before the CJ that the company is an artificial person. “There is no material on record to justify prosecution of an artificial person like the petitioner. This aspect was completely overlooked by the CBI,” the counsel said during submission of his arguments earlier.

The CBI special counsel told the HC that the company’s chairman, who was the third accused in the case, had changed the shareholding of the company. Citing a Supreme Court verdict, the special counsel argued that criminal intention of the person or group of persons that guide the business of a company could be attributed to the company.

Pronouncing verdict, CJ Ujjal Bhuyan observed that when a company or a corporation is an offender vicarious liability of the directors cannot be imputed automatically if there is no statutory provision to that effect. The CBI court merely recorded that it had perused the charge-sheet and other documents.

The lower court “did not record any satisfaction that there is a prima facie case against the petitioner”. The verdict said that the apex court laid down categories of cases by way of illustration wherein the HC can exercise its extraordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution or the inherent powers under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the CJ noted that a HC can exercise powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. to prevent abuse of the process of court and to secure the ends of justice. Observing that allowing criminal prosecution of the company would not at all secure the ends of justice, the CJ quashed the CBI case.


* In August, 2011 CBI registered criminal case of quid pro quo following orders of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh HC.

* Current Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and 73 others were made accused in the case.

* In August, 2012, CBI filed charge-sheet against 14 accused, including VANPIC.

* VANPIC filed criminal petition challenging action of CBI court taking cognizance of the case.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2022 1:32:37 pm |