HC Rejects Ex-Railway Minister's Petition in Graft Case

New Delhi
HC Rejects Ex-Railway Minister's Petition in Graft Case
A plea by former Railway Minister C K Jaffer Sharief, challenging a trial court's decision to reject a CBI closure report in a corruption case against him and prosecute him instead, was dismissed by the Delhi High Court today.

Rejecting the CBI closure report, the trial court had proceeded with Sharief's prosecution for his culpability in unauthorisedly taking along with him four persons to London during his tenure as minister.

The CBI had filed the closure report in the case for want of official sanction to prosecute him, but the trial court had proceeded against him despite that.

A bench of Justice M L Mehta rejected Sharief's plea saying his act did not require sanction under the Code of Criminal Procedure to try him for offences under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

"It can be safely concluded that the act of the petitioner did not require sanction" to prosecute, Justice Mehta said.

"I find no illegality or infirmity in the impugned order of the learned Special Judge, CBI. The petition is accordingly dismissed," the court said.

Sharief had challenged the trial court order seeking his discharge from various alleged offences under the P C Act, on the ground of lack of sanction under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code to prosecute him.

The probe agency has alleged that during 1995, while functioning as the Railways Minister, Sharief arranged foreign visits of four persons, besides the officials allowed by the government, for his personal use.

The court, in its judgement, added "there is sufficient material against the petitioner (Sharief) to demonstrate that the acts complained of were not a part of his duty as a public servant."

An FIR was registered against Sharief in 1998 by the CBI, which had alleged that Sharief unauthorisedly took along four staffs of his ministry to London in a trip in 1995.

In 2005, the CBI, however, filed a closure report citing refusal of sanction under section 19 of the P C Act.

The lower court, however, had rejected the closure report saying it appeared that the entire material collected by the prosecution had not been placed before the sanctioning authority.

The CBI again filed a closure report. However, the Special Judge declined the CBI request and took cognisance of the offence under P C Act. Sharief, however, had challenged it saying that sanction under section 197 of the CrPC had not been taken.

But the trial court had rejected his contention saying that no sanction was required under section 19 of the P C Act.

Against the trial court's order, Sharief had moved the high court saying the prosecution has failed to obtain sanction to prosecute him.

Sharief is accused of 'dishonestly' ensuring journey of B N Nagesh, Additional P S to ministry, S M Masthan and V Muralidharn, both steno and C H Samaullah, a driver, to London with him.
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