The Kerala High Court on Wednesday (July 22) dismissed a petition seeking the registration of an FIR against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijiyan and his former secretary-in-charge M Shivashankaran, for their alleged involvement in scams such as the Sprinklr deal scam, BevQ App. e-Mobility Consultancy scams and the gold smuggling case.
The petition was filed by Alappuzha-based journalist Michael Varghese. In the plea he had also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the aforesaid scams.
The division bench of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly held that the petitioner had failed to produce sufficient evidence to support the allegations. In this regard, the court observed: “The petitioner has solely relied on the statement of the Leader of the Opposition and contended that if it is true, the matter requires investigation. As such, he has no evidence or material, and that is why he has prayed for an interim direction…”
The court also highlighted that the petitioner has alternative remedies if the police had not lodged an FIR in a case. These remedies include approaching the jurisdictional magistrate under Section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), or filing a private complaint under Section 190 read with Section 200, CrPC. “Without resorting to the procedure as contemplated in the Cr.P.C, the petitioner has approached this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India”, the Bench observed.
“Merely because allegations are levelled against the Hon’ble Chief Minister and others and in as much as the allegations relate to abuse of power, it cannot be contended that the nature and magnitude require issuance of a writ as the only remedy available to the petitioner,” the bench said.
After recording detailed arguments made in the matter by the petitioner, the State, the NIA and the Central Government (Customs), the Writ Petition was dismissed. observing, “…judged from any angle, we are of the view, petitioner has not made out a case for issuance of a writ of mandamus. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed. No costs.”
Read the Judgment here;Michael-Varghese-v-Pinarayi-Vijayan-and-ors-Judgment
– India Legal Bureau