New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected plea for a court-monitored SIT probe into bribery allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the basis of documents seized during the raids in business houses–Sahara and Birla– on the ground they had no no evidentiary value.
The case based on “random materials” like loose sheets, papers, e-mail print outs is “merit less” as they are “inadmissible materials” having “no evidentiary value under the law” to order registration of FIR and investigation, more so against the high constitutional functionaries, whose names are mentioned in the documents which has been held as prima facie “fabricated” by income tax settlement commission, the court said.
The high-voltage hearing was conducted by a new bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy which said “courts have to be on guard” while dealing with matters demanding probe against high functionaries as the case in hand was devoid of any “cogent” material or “independent evidence corroborating materials” to order investigation.
The new bench was constituted as Prashant Bhushan, lawyer for the Common Cause, had sought recusal of the then Chief Justice of India-designate, Justice J S Khehar, on the ground that his file for elevation for CJI was pending with the executive headed by the Prime Minister.
“There must be some cogent, reliable and admissible evidence”. Otherwise the process of law can be abused to achieve ulterior goals,” the court observed dismissing the NGO’s plea.
Dissatisfied with the loose sheets, which were claimed to be part of the diary entries of the Sahara Group and Aditya Birla Group, containing entries like “Gujarat CM” and other politicians, the bench said materials placed on record by the NGO, Common Cause were not maintained by the two business housed in the regular course of business.
Another bench of the court had earlier termed the loose sheets and other material “zero material” to order investigation. “In view of the materials placed on record and peculiarity of the facts and circumstances, no case is made out on merits to direct investigation against various political functionaries, officers etc. The interim applications are found to be merit less and are dismissed,” the bench said.
The bench also referred to the order passed by the Income Tax Settlement Commission in the Sahara group matter and said that the commission has also found prima facie that materials recovered from the group were not genuine and fabricated.