Sunday, October 10, 2010

Delhi HC rejects RIL plea to quash CBI case against it

The Delhi High Court has cleared the decks for trial against Reliance Industries relating to seizure of classified documents from its office in 1998 by rejecting its plea that the case was time-barred.
The company is facing criminal case under the Official Secrets Act for the alleged recovery of some secret documents during search of the office premise of V. Balasubramanian, the then Group President of Reliance Industries, in 1998.

A criminal case was filed but considering the sensitivity of the case, investigation was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which registered a complaint in 2002.

The company had contended that the CBI failed to register the complaint within the time frame of three years and as such it should not have been proceeded.

However, the High Court refused to accept the contention that 142 days’ delay in registering the complaint could be a ground to quash the proceedings before the trial court.

Justice S. N. Dhingra accepted the CBI’s plea that the delay in registering the complaint had occurred as it was seeking the opinion of the Attorney General and Solicitor General, whether the company can be made party to the case.

“I, therefore, find that the explanation given by the CBI for delay in filing the complaint was rightly accepted by the learned CMM and rightly upheld by the learned ASJ,” Justice Dhingra said.

Since there was a delay in registering the complaint, the agency had approached the trial court for condoning the delay which was granted.

The company had challenged the decision in the High Court contending that the delay was wrongly condoned and order of the trial court was illegal as no due diligence on the part of the CBI had been shown in filing the complaint within three years and therefore it was barred by limitation.

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