Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Supreme Court issues notice to former Kerala DGP Jacob Thomas on plea against Kerala High Court order

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The Supreme Court has issued notice to Jacob Thomas, former Director General of Police (DGP) of Kerala, on a petition challenging the Kerala High Court order that quashed an FIR against the IPS officer.

A Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice A.S. Oka issued notice to Thomas in the matter returnable by March 25.

Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj represented Sathyan Naravoor, petitioner and complainant, at whose instance, the FIR was registered.

The Supreme Court asked Raj why the state had not filed an appeal against the High Court verdict.

“That is why I chose to file the appeal,” Raj responded.

The petition challenged the Kerala High Court order that had quashed an FIR registered by the Special Investigation Unit of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau against Thomas.

The FIR accused the former DGP of abusing his position and reaping financial gains at the expense of the government exchequer.

Thomas had been charged for offences under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The petitioner stated that the High Court had committed a grave error by putting an end to the investigation that was underway, when there were serious allegations of financial misappropriation against the accused.

It said the FIR had been filed after a preliminary enquiry that was conducted by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“It revealed large scale misconduct and corruption on part of the Respondent No. 1 with demonstrated irregularities at every stage of the process procuring the CSD causing great loss to the Kerala public exchequer,” the plea noted.

The petitioner emphasised that this was not an isolated case of abuse of power by the respondent, and he was, in fact, embroiled in several such proceedings across the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Therefore, it was contended that the High Court ignored the fact that the powers to quash an FIR under Section 482 must be exercised sparingly and only in the rarest of rare cases.

Even if it is assumed that the FIR was mala fide, that alone cannot be ground to quash the same if there is ample material to proceed with the probe, the plea said.

“The High Court erred in conducting a mini trial at the pre-trial stage,” said the petition, reasoning that the Court placed reliance on selective evidence instead of merely focusing on whether there was a prima facie offence or not.

On these grounds, the petitioner moved the present plea against the order of the Kerala High Court.

The plea was drawn by Advocates Nikita Agarwal, Thulasi K Raj and Anjali Anil and settled by Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj. It was filed through Advocate Mohammed Sadique TA.

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