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Rajasthan HC stays trial court proceedings against former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri

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The Rajasthan High Court on Monday stayed subordinate court proceedings against Pratip Chaudhuri, the former chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI).

Chaudhuri had approached the High Court seeking a stay of further proceedings pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jaisalmer  in the Final Report arising out of an FIR lodged in Police Station Sadar, District Jaisalmer.

Vide impugned order, the trial court took cognizance against the petitioner and other co-accused persons for the offences under Sections 420, 409 read with Section 120-B IPC.

Counsel for the petitioner has argued that dispute between the parties is purely of civil nature and taking into consideration this fact, the  Supreme Court has already quashed one of the FIRs registered at Jaipur vide its order dated 23.10.2017 .

It is submitted that allegations leveled in that FIR are identical to the allegations leveled in the Current FIR of Police Station Sadar, District Jaisalmer.

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It is further submitted that once the High Court is seized of the matter and in similar petitions also, notices have already been issued to the rival parties, it would be in the fitness of things that further proceedings pending before the trial court may be stayed.

Counsel for the complainant opposed the prayer made on behalf of the petitioner with regard to stay further proceedings pending before the trial court.

It is argued that the allegations leveled in the FIR registered at Jaipur, which has already been quashed by the  Supreme Court are entirely different from the allegation leveled in the current FIR of Police Station Sadar, District Jaisalmer.

It is also submitted that the petitioner is having a statutory remedy of filing a criminal revision petition under Section 397 and 401 Cr.P.C. before the District court, therefore, in view of availability of the statutory remedy to the petitioner, the High Court should not interfere in the matter.

Counsel for the Complainant has contended that that as a matter of fact, the petitioner had preferred a revision petition before the District Judge, however, the same has been withdrawn and taking into consideration the above fact also, further proceedings pending before the trial court are not liable to be stayed.

A single-judge bench of Justice Vijay Bishnoi after hearing the  counsel for the parties noted that it is true that ordinarily when statutory remedy is available to the parties, the High Court should refrain itself from interfering in the order passed by the trial court, however, this itself will not limit the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

The Bench opined that points raised in the petition are prima facie having force.

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“I am also of the opinion that when this Court is already seized of the matter and two other petitions filed by other co-accused persons are also pending before this Court, it would be appropriate that the trial court should not be allowed to proceed further in the matterm”

-the order reads.

Hence, further proceedings in connection with the Final Report arising out of the FIR  of Police Station Sadar, District Jaisalmer, pending before the trial court are stayed by the High Court.

It is pertinent to note that Chaudhuri was arrested from New Delhi by the Rajasthan Police on November 1 based on an FIR registered by the Rajasthan Police in connection with an alleged bank loan scam.

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