Monday, October 3, 2022

Supreme Court stays criminal proceedings against Azim Premji, wife

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The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on the petition of Wipro founder Azim Premji questioning the summons issued by an Additional City Civil and Sessions Court in January on a private complaint over allegations of illegally transferring crores of rupees worth of assets from three companies into a private trust .

A single bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also directed stay of proceedings before the sessions court .

The Karnataka High Court had in May this year dismissed petitions filed by Wipro founder Azim Premji, his wife and two others questioning summons issued by an Additional City Civil and Sessions Court.

The Sessions Court had issued summons on January 27 against the four based on a private complaint filed by Chennai-based company India Awake for Transparency, about allegations of illegally transferring crores of rupees worth of assets from three companies into a private trust.

It was alleged in the complaint that Premji, his wife and Srinivasan were entrusted with the dominion over properties and assets of three companies as directors.

They were holding assets of these three companies of a total worth Rs 31,342 crore in fiduciary capacity, without having any financial interest or ownership therein, the complaint said. Based on the private complaint alleging that the accused had committed offences punishable under Sections 409, 34 read with 120B IPC and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the trial court issued summons to Premji and others.

The advocate for the accused argued that behalf of the allegations made in the complaints, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offences or make out a case against accused.

The petitioner Advocate A. M. Singhvi, stated that “This is a bizarre case. 3 companies of the Azim Premji group, entirely owned by Premji and his mother, merged into a fourth company of the Azim Premji group known as ‘Hasham’. And it is being said that this amount to bona vacantia.”

Dr. Singhvi brought to the bench’s notice that the petitioners are due for physical appearance before the court on Saturday. The bench also clarified that the proceedings before the trial court shall also remain stayed.

Advocate R. Subramanium appeared for the respondent-caveator and the defacto complainant before the Special Court, NGO India Awake for Transparency. The bench proceeded to dismiss the relevant special leave Petition.

Read Also: Delhi Police says Sec 144 imposed near CM’s house to vacate protesters

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