New Delhi: On Monday, January 14, the Supreme Court administered examination of competency of the Delhi High Court to grant bail in a matter wherein the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has prosecuted the accused of allegedly syphoning off Rs. 200 Crores.
During the hearing, the Court questioned the arrested MD of Adarsh Credit Cooperative Society, Rahul Modi as to the grounds on which the accused moved the High Court while he was under remand by judicial order. It is pertinent to note that the accused initiated a Habeas Corpus petition, which in its true nature seeks remedy from unlawful detention or imprisonment, which is contrary to the present case.
A bench comprising Justices A M Sapre and U U Lalit has directed Rahul Modi to prove the validity of the bail granted by the High Court even as the bail application was not filed. Moreover, the accused has been instructed to prove in Court the competency of the Court in terms of jurisdiction as the prosecution was launched in Gurugram, Haryana.
The matter pertains to the probing agency challenging the December 21, 2018 order of the High Court granting interim bail to the founder and MD of Adarsh Credit Cooperative Society.
The SFIO comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, majorly dealing with white collar crimes. Appearing for the probing office, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the matter is a serious case of financial fraud, wherein the High Court had set aside the order of a Gurugram Special Court. Since the order was not under appeal, the Court lacked jurisdiction to administer the matter, said Tushar Mehta. Moreover, he stated that the High Court while granting the interim bail, acted in contravention of several judgements passed by the top Court.
Appearing for the accused, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal justified the territorial jurisdiction on the basis that the accused was arrested and remanded in the national capital which is also the place of SFIO headquarters. He also submitted prevalence of judgements by the Apex Court which made Habeas Corpus petitions valid even in case of remand under judicial order.
In response, the bench exclaimed, considering the location of the SFIO headquarters as valid territorial jurisdiction means arrests made anywhere in the Country by the probing office will fall within the purview of the Delhi High Court!
Advocate Mehta countering the submissions said that the registered office of the company in question is Gurugram and also the order passed by the Special Magistrate Court is in Gurugram. Thus making the Punjab and Haryana High Court to be the competent Courts as per territorial jurisdiction. Advocate Mehta urged the top Court to impose a stay on the High Court order until disposal of the plea, alleging the accused to be influencing witnesses.
The matter remaining inconclusive has been listed for further hearing on January 23.