In a relief to Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the high court order putting a stay on the CBI probe against him in a corruption case.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai, CT Ravikumar and Sanjay Kumar dismissed the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the February 10 order of the single judge bench of the high court.
The single judge bench extended the stay several times before finally dismissing Shivakumar’s petition challenging the FIR lodged by the CBI in the corruption case. The matter is currently pending before a division bench of the high court, which in June continued with the stay on the CBI’s investigation.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the CBI, submitted the division bench of the high court has also imposed an interim stay on the proceedings.
”We have challenged the stay by the division bench in separate proceedings. If that is decided in my favour, this stay order (by single judge) goes. This is not an independent order. Kindly tag both the petitions,” Raju said referring to the petitions the CBI has filed against the order of both the single bench and the division bench staying the probe.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Shivakumar said the CBI has filed an appeal in the apex court against an interim order of the high court but it has refused to challenge subsequent interim orders passed by the division bench of the high court.
”Several interim orders were passed by the division bench of the high court but only one order (of interim stay on probe) has been challenged by the CBI. The matter is still pending before the high court,” he said, adding pleading is complete before the division bench as arguments are over and counter affidavits have been filed.
The bench then said it is not going to interfere with the high court order and granted CBI the liberty to request the high court for expeditious disposal of the case before it.
On February 10, the Karnataka High Court had stayed the CBI proceedings in the corruption case against Shivakumar.
It had taken note of the fact that another petition filed by Shivakumar, also the state Congress president, challenging the handing over of the probe to CBI by the then BJP government is pending before another bench of the high court.
”Though the CBI has authority to make an enquiry with any of the family members of the public servant as per Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and in view of the very reference order challenged by the petitioner by filing writ petition and until the disposal of the said writ petition, it is necessary for this Court to stay the further investigation till the next date of hearing,” the single judge had said in its February 10 order.
The high court had also directed the CBI to produce a report on the status of the investigation by the next date of hearing.
The high court noted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had written a letter to the state’s chief secretary on September 9, 2019 stating that there was an income tax raid on Shivakumar and a case was registered against him under Section 200 of CrPC for the offence punishable under Sections 276C(1) and 277 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 read with Sections 193, 199 (both related to giving false statements) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
It noted the letter said the Income Tax authorities allegedly found Rs 8.50 crore from Shivakumar during the raid. They then sent the information to the state’s chief secretary for referring the matter to the CBI for investigation.
The high court noted that based on the letter, the state government entrusted the investigation to the CBI vide letter dated September 25, 2019. The CBI registered an FIR against Shivakumar on October 3, 2020.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)