New Delhi (ILNS): The Uttarakhand High Court had yesterday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to start a probe against Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on a bribe allegation made by two journalists. Today, the Chief Minister moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court’s order.
The allegation made by the two journalists — Umesh Kumar Sharma and Shiv Prasad Semwal – was about a bribe that the chief minister and his associates had allegedly taken. The allegations were made in a report they had uploaded on a social media platform. The immediate response from the government was an FIR in their names. The journalists then moved the high court for the quashing of the FIR.
At the Uttrakhand High Court, Justice Ravindra Maithani noted: “Considering the nature of allegations levelled against Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Chief Minister of the State, it would be appropriate to unfold the truth.”
The journalists had not sought any direction for the CBI probe, but the judge, specifically in reference to the case of Bangalore Development Authority Vs. Vijaya Leasing Limited and others, in which it was decreed that an order passed in absence of a challenge was held valid, ordered the probe.
As CM was not a party in the matter, the question of whether he should be heard before passing the order arose. However, the bench relied on the case of E. Sivakumar Vs. Union of India and Others that held: “The accused is not required to be heard at the stage of investigation… The fact that the petitioner was not impleaded as party in the writ petition or was not heard per se cannot be a basis to label the impugned judgment as narrated.”
The high court judge passed the order, asking: “Should this Court let the allegations levelled by the petitioner also sink in the memory of the people without them being investigated or should the Court suo motu take some action to get the matter investigated so as to clear the air?”
The bench while quashing the FIRs filed against the journalists, directed the Superintendent of Police, CBI Dehradun to register an FIR on the basis of the allegations and investigate the case in accordance with the law, promptly.