SRINAGAR: The J&K Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking the quashing of a First Information Report (FIR) in a case involving the embezzlement of rice and wheat stocks worth Rs 14.74 crore.
The FIR was lodged on a written complaint by Chief General Manager (Vigilance), Food Corporation of India (FCI) to Head of CBI Srinagar alleging that a misappropriation of rice and wheat stocks at PEG (Private Entrepreneur Guarantee) Store, Baramulla, valued at over Rs 14 crore has taken place.
The court held that the investigation of the case cannot be scuttled, stalled and thwarted at this stage of the initial probe in the matter of the embezzlement of a huge amount of money.
Dismissing the petition, Justice M K Hanjura said, “The FIR in a case like the present one cannot be quashed promptly without allowing the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to make an appropriate investigation of the case.”
Justice Hanjura remarked that the Supreme Court has in a catena of judicial pronouncements held that the FIR cannot be quashed at the threshold itself without allowing the investigation to proceed. The investigation will reveal who is/are the person/persons who have embezzled such a huge amount of money, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer.
The petitioners, Baljit Singh & another, had moved a petition before the Srinagar wing of the High Court through their advocate, Salih Pirzada, seeking overturning of FIR no.123/2017, registered at Police Station CBI, Srinagar.
The counsel had challenged the FIR on the grounds that the petitioners are proprietors of the sole proprietorship concern against which the FIR has been registered by the CBI. The proprietorship concerns are not legal entities against which prosecution can be launched. The proprietorship is doli incapax (incapable of committing a crime or malice) and thus can neither be prosecuted nor punished under any statute.
The counsel had further argued that there is no allegation that the petitioners personally indulged in the commission of cheating, misappropriation or fabrication of documents or in any manner entered into conspiracy or abetted the commission of offences by aid or instigation. The allegations are not traceable to the petitioner and cannot be proceeded with as they are illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore, the entire prosecution being void ab initio is liable to be quashed.
The court, after hearing the petitioners’ counsel, held that the allegations levelled against the petitioners in the complaint filed by the CBI are of a very serious nature and hence the mandate of law justifies that the complaint should be investigated thoroughly by the CBI, and in case the petitioners are not guilty, they should cooperate with the CBI.
According to the complaint 130 trucks were missing during the reconciliation from the records at the Lower Munda (Qazigund), which have been shown to have been acknowledged in the reconciliation statements. The genuineness of the stamp affixed on the challans of these 130 trucks was crosschecked with the specimen copy of stamps obtained from Lower Munda (Qazigund). It was found that fake stamps have been affixed on these challans, and it appears that stocks have been misappropriated by the transport contractor, that is M/s Gagan Traders and M/s Walia Goods & Transport, both from Punjab, in connivance and collusion with FCI staff, state government officials and the owner of PEG Baramulla, between the dispatching depot of Bhogpur and Kartarpur, under FCI District Office Jalandhar and Lower Munda Check Post.
After the complaint was received, a regular case was registered under Sections 120 B, 420, 467, 468, 471 RPC (Ranbir Penal Code).