The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to come up with a solution to deal with matters in which multiple FIRs are registered against a particular person in a ponzi scam affecting multiple states simultaneously. The Court was hearing a matter seeking the transfer and clubbing of 29 FIRs registered against an accused in custody for falsely accumulating crores of rupees from people.
The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai heard the petition filed by Radhey Shyam, chief managing director, Future Maker Life Care Private Limited, who has been in jail since October 10, 2018, for various FIRs registered against him in different states. In his petition, Radhey Shyam had sought the issuance of directions for not registering further FIRs against him by any investigating agency for the same offence.
The bench said, “Please come up with a solution and we’ll have to see what needs to be done. This is something to be worried about. So many FIRs will be a travesty of justice.”
The present petition also seeks issuance of directions to not take cognizance by any Court/Authority empowered to do so on any complaint premised on the same cause of action was called for hearing, Justice Rao asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta if some agency could be constituted to investigate the matter where multiple FIRs are registered against the same person in multiple states.
Mehta suggested transferring the matters to the CBI and dispensing the informants. The Solicitor General further submitted, “FIR informants may have to be heard. There is one option wherein we can transfer the matter to CBI. Let the court exercise its jurisdiction under Article 142. Everything can go to CBI.”
The Court noted that CBI is already overburdened and, if all the cases of this nature were transferred to CBI, there would be a need for it to have a different wing, the bench remarked, adding the issue was not only related to the rights of the accused but also of the interest of depositors.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, drew the Court’s attention to the Supreme Court judgment in Narinderjit Singh Sahni and Another v Union of India, 2002 in which the Court had asked the Central Government to evolve a certain formula or procedure in cases where officials of the company accept deposits from a large number of people in different schemes and fail to make the repayment in spite of requests for their expeditious disposal.
Sibal further submitted that currently 29 FIRs had been registered against Radhey Shyam and there was only one case in which charges were framed and the others were in the course of investigation. He also contended that there was no need to investigate every case since the nature of the transaction in every case was same.
The counsel added further, “If you take one sample case and he’s convicted there, then you don’t have to investigate all the cases.” The counsel sought grant of bail and assured cooperation in investigation process, and also suggested transferring the cases to the CBI and a Special Investigation Team (SIT)
“Dates will be fixed in various states, without appearing in other cases. So I’ll have to appear. How do I defend myself & engage lawyers? The other problem is that in MP, the judge denied me bail on the ground that I’m not cooperating with the investigation. How will I help in the investigation since I am in jail? Something needs to be done,” submitted the Senior Advocate.
The bench observed, “There are so many investors. We are thinking of suggestions given by Solicitor General. But that would not serve a purpose. Since the CBI will have to take the investigation in so many cases. It’ll be difficult for the informants. Please find a different suggestion. We’ll have a detailed hearing,”
Solicitor General Mehta submitted that he’ll see if guidelines had been framed in the Sahni case and if guidelines have not been placed, he’d ask for their framing and present it before the court.
The Apex Court also issued notice to the State of Uttar Pradesh and asked the petitioner’s counsel to serve the copy of the petition to states where FIRs had been registered against Radhey Shyam. The matter was adjourned to October 28.