Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Allahabad High Court dismisses plea seeking an FIR against Union Minister Smriti Irani

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has dismissed the petition filed by international shooter Vartika Singh seeking registration of an FIR against Union Minister Smriti Irani and other persons.

A single-judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a Criminal Revision filed by Vartika Singh.

The revision under Section 397 read with Section 401 CrPC has been filed impugning the order dated 20.2.2021 passed by the Special Judge (MP/MLA Court)/Additional Session Judge, FTC-1, Sultanpur in Misc Case under section 156(3) CrPC filed by the revisionist.

The facts as mentioned in the application under section 156(3) CrPC:-

(a) The revisionist claimed to be the international shooter and winner of the President Gold Medal. She claimed to be a student of Indraprastha College, Delhi University and she had imparted training to 2017 Batch of IPS officers. Besides this, she imparted training to women candidates of BSF in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and invitations were extended by the Chief Ministers of the States. She further claimed that she had imparted shooting training to the children of the Chief Minister of the Punjab and the children of Priyanka Gandhi. She has been honoured by the Prime Minister and the Government of Uttar Pradesh as Chief Guest in several schemes. She has also been honoured by several officers, MPs and MLAs. She has been coach of Doon Valley School. She has been honoured by SIE and Delhi University and different political organizations.

(b) In the application, she alleged that during the Covid-19 lockdown of March 2020, she received a telephone call from an unknown person, who told her his name as Dr Rajnsih Singh S/o Ram Pratap Singh, resident of District Ayodhya introduced himself as Advisor in Food Processing Department and he also showed his photograph with the Central and the State leaders. During the course of conversation, he said that he was close to Union Minister Smriti Irani and he was having close relations with her Secretary, Vijay Gupta. Dr Rajnish Singh further said that he had already talked to Smriti Irani and Vijay Gupta to nominate the revisionist/complainant in National Women’s Commission as a member.

(c) The revisionist gave her bio-data and photocopy of the certificates. On 10.6.2020, a letter was shared with the revisionist signed by Smriti Irani, which was addressed to the Prime Minister of the Country. Second letter dated 22.6.2020 was addressed by One M.C Jauhari, IAS to the Superintendent of Police, Pratapgarh. Sri Jauhari asked the Superintendent of Police, Pratapgarh to send the complainant’s certificates regarding her educational qualifications, sources of income and criminal antecedents, if any, within thirty days from the receipt of the letter.

Thereafter, one Satish Kuamr, who told that he was from the Local Intelligence Unit talked to the complainant/revisionist and believing in him, she met with the said Satish Kumar with her parents in Hazratganj, Lucknow and gave her self-attested certificates etc to him. The complainant/revisionist, however, suspected the credentials of Satish Kumar and she clicked his photographs clandestinely.

On 26.6.2020, she went to the office of the Superintendent of Police, Pratapgarh to verify the letter allegedly addressed by Sri M.C. Jauhari, IAS. However, no such letter was received in the office of the Superintendent of Police, Pratapgarh nor she could get any information regarding Satish Kumar, alleged LIU person. When she contacted Dr Rajnish Singh and inquired about the truthfulness of the letters etc, he said that he would speak to Vijay Gupta and Smriti Irani.

(d) Thereafter, Dr Rajnish Singh sent a third letter on her Whatsapp, which was not signed by anyone, but the office number was mentioned in the letter. This letter was in respect of her nomination as Member in the National Women’s Commission. Dr Rajnish Singh demanded Rs 25,00,000 from her for her nomination as Member in the National Woman Commission and for signing of the letter by Smriti Irani. However, the complainant/ revisionist refused to give the bribe and then it was said that she would not be nominated and Dr Rajnish Singh used the word “Yaar” (Dear). Further allegation is that Dr Rajnish Singh and Vijay Gupta, Secretary of Smriti Irani, Cabinet Minister continued to demand Rs 25,00,000 for eight months.

(e) On 20.11.2020, the revisionist went to the official residence of Smriti Irani in New Delhi and showed the three letters, which were shared by Dr Rajnish Singh with her. The revisionist was asked to take back the money, but the complainant said that when she had not paid, there was no occasion for her to take money back. All the three letters were taken back and the complainant was asked to go back. She believed that a fraud was being committed with her to cheat her of Rs 25,00,000 and in this fraud, Smriti Irani, Cabinet Minister was also fully involved. It was further said that the complainant/revisionist possessed mobile recording and the electronic evidence, however, the Station House Officer, Musafirkhana did not register FIR on a complaint sent by the revisionist on 17.12.2020. Thereafter, the revisionist sent a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Amethi, however, no FIR was registered.

The Court noted,

On this application, the Special Judge, MP/MLA Court called for a police report from the concerned police station. The police submitted its report, in which it is said that an FIR at Case under Sections 509 IPC and Section 66/67 Information Technology Act was registered against the revisionist and one Kamal Kishore, Commando and during the investigating the offence, offences under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC were added. The investigation was still on in respect of the said offence and as per the evidence collected during the course of investigation, there was sufficient evidence against the revisionist for offences under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC.

It was further said that the revisionist had deliberately manufactured and forged the documents and she declared herself as Member of the National Women’s Commission. It was also said that the investigation was on against Dr Rajnish Singh.

The Special Judge after considering the police report and the documents, held that after an FIR came to be registered on 20.11.2020 in respect of forged documents prepared by the complainant/revisionist, she filed an application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C levelling serious charges against the Central Minister and other persons. It is further held that allegations are already under investigation and, therefore, there is no question of direction for lodging the second FIR for the allegations made in the application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. Therefore, the Special Judge rejected the said application vide impugned order.

Anurag Kumar Singh, the counsel for the respondents, has submitted that several cases for forging the documents etc. have been registered against the complainant/revisionist. In respect of her claim for nomination as Member of the National Women’s Commission, the investigation is already on. He, therefore, submitted that the Special Judge has taken the correct view that no second FIR can be directed to be registered for the allegations contained in the application under Section 156(3) CrPC.

“The matter is still under investigation whether the claim of the complainant/revisionist is based on the forged and fabricated documents or not. There is already an FIR registered against the revisionist and, therefore, I am of the view that the Special Judge, MP/MLA Court has taken the correct view in rejecting the application under Section 156(3) CrPC. There is no error of law or jurisdiction in the impugned order, which requires the Court to interfere with the same in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction,” the Court observed while rejecting the revision application.

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