Higher Courts can direct investigating agencies to investigate afresh

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The petitioner was an IAS officer appointed in 1982 and served in MP cadre from year 2000 to 2004 as an MD of a government company incorporated under Companies Act, 1956. The Corporation had been borrowing money from various sources to advance the same in the shape of inter corporate deposits to various companies in order to facilitate industrial development in the State of Madhya Pradesh. However, after some time, corporation suffered loss and after inquiry, it was observed that Directors, Managing Directors of the Corporation had not acted bona fide leading to losses in company.

An FIR was lodged in the same respect at State Economic Offices Investigation Bureau, Bhopal under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 120-B  IPC. The petitioner challenged the registration of FIR against him under Section 482 CrPC.  The High Court in 2005 had quashed the FIR against which there was an appeal in Supreme Court. The appeal was allowed directing the Economic Offence Wing every mistake or error committed by an officer need not amount to a criminal act and that in the normal course of official duties mistakes may and do occur and that the petitioner be given reasonable opportunity of projecting his own views over the matter by furnishing all the documents as are necessary for the same.

The petitioner questioned the investigation by the EOW and alleged that the same is not being done in consonance of the directions issued by the Apex Court. The petitioner contended that EOW has not conducted any ‘afresh investigation’ and relying on the earlier investigation, completed some formalities and forwarded the matter to the Union Government to accord sanction which he said is contrary to law and also, the mandate of the Apex Court as it had directed to conduct a de novo investigation referring to Vinay Tyagi v. Irshad Ali, (2013) 5 SCC 762 in which the Court had observed that fresh investigation and de novo investigation could be ordered by the higher courts.

The Court observed that in the case of Rama Chaudhary v. State of Bihar, (2009) 6 SCC 346, it has been held that fresh investigation or re-investigation to be started ab-initio wiping out the earlier investigation altogether and has specifically held that re-investigation or further investigation means additional more or supplementary investigation. Making these observations, the Division Bench held that the investigating agency has committed an error in concluding the investigation and the process of investigation adopted by the investigating agency is also contrary to the mandate of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and directed to conduct investigation in accordance with the mandate of the Supreme Court. [Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty v. UOI, 2017 SCC OnLine MP 216, dated 01.03.2017]

 

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