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Delhi High Court rejects plea of elderly disabled woman, seeking probe into fraud leading to loss of her gas agency

The counsel for the petitioner Adv Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay apprised the bench that the Delhi High Court in its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 has wide powers to entertain this writ Petition.

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to hear an appeal filed by a 69-year-old disabled woman, seeking probe by the Crime Branch, Economic Offence Wing (EOW), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into a fraud committed upon her by her relatives, which lead to the loss of Gas Agency, established by her long years of hard work. 

A single-judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad held that the petitioner cannot claim investigation to be carried out by EOW, ED or other concerned authority in a private matter. 

Counsel for the petitioner Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay apprised the bench that the Delhi High Court, in its writ jurisdiction under Article 226, has wide powers to entertain this Writ Petition.

“It is no doubt that writ filed under Article 226 has reservoirs of Powers, even more than Article 32, but he cannot claim investigation by agencies in a private manner,” retorted the bench. The Court advised the petitioner to take recourse of remedy in accordance with law. 

During the hearing today, Advocate Upadhyay submitted the facts of the matter before the Single Judge that a letter of Intent dated October 5, 1994 was issued to him by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Indane Gas distributorship was allotted to his client accordingly. “I am the sole owner of this gas agency. Because of my physical disability, Shweta Gupta, wife of brother in law of Anil Kumar Goyal inducted as partner in my firm Neelkanth Gas Service. They further not only forged documents, but also forged my signatures and used my photograph on various fabricated documents,” the Counsel alleged. 

He said the same fraudulent and nefarious act has been committed against another 81-year-old woman, Aruna Nanda, Proprietor/Partner of Shalimar Bagh Gas Service (IOCL), who is the widow of Squadron Leader Ramesh Nanda. The bench replied that it was a separate matter other than the present matter. 

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Advocate Upadhyay also referred to his complaint made to SHO, PS Uttam Nagar against the accused named in the Writ Petition seeking action to be taken under Sections 403, 406, 416, 417, 418, 419,420,420, 467, 468, 471, 477-A, 503, 506, 120B 34 IPC read with Section 7 of the Public Records Act 1993 and under Section 92 of the Rights of Persons with Disability 2016.

Petitioner Meena Sharma prayed for directions to Delhi Police to investigate the IOCL staff and bank employees, to ED to investigate money laundering, benami transactions, disproportionate assets and other economic offences, direction for SFIO to investigate corporate, capital market, forensic fraud, violating las of accountancy, company, taxation and Information Technology laws.

She had alleged that she never visited the Registrar of Firms for signing any partnership agreement and Shweta Gupta, A.K. Goyal and Ram Avatar created forged documents, forged her signatures and used her photographs on various forged, fabricated documents. Another woman impersonated herself as Meena in Registrar of Firms. In a fraudulent manner, the accused took her photographs and endorsed her signatures on blank cheques as well as in printed documents on pretext of filing the same in IOCL for completion of formalities. Being principal partner, she was abstained to make transaction through her current account of Neelkanth Gas Service with UCO Bank and all this was done by Anil Kumar Goyal.  

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Meena’s grievance was that Goyal and Shweta have not only diverted funds to purchase benami properties and gold, but also taken loan in name of the firm and started new business. Goyal operates transactions with IOCL Plant under signatures of Shweta Gupta alone and not a single transaction was made jointly, she alleged.

The woman stated in her plea that she met Anil Kumar Goyal (through her accountant Ram Avtar), who concealed the fact of his partnership with Shalimar Bagh Agency. This rendered him ineligible for partnership with petitioner. Therefore, Goyal inducted his brother-in-law’s wife Shweta Gupta as Partner (49 percent share) in the petitioner’s gas agency. On August 6, 2009, a Partnership Deed was duly executed and signed by the petitioner and Shweta for 51 percent: 49 percent profit sharing ratio. On October 26, 2009, an Agreement was executed between IOCL and Neelkanth Gas Service and the petitioner and Shweta signed the agreement as Joint Partners of Neelkanth Gas Service.

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