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FIR against Asthana, others filed after taking opinion of ASG Narasimha: Gurm tells HC

The ASG said there was no need of obtaining a sanction from a competent authority for lodging the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.


FIR against Asthana, others filed after taking opinion of ASG Narasimha: Gurm tells HC
"Further, the ASG has advised that whenever a cognisable offence comes to the notice of a law enforcement agency, the FIR/PE must be registered and it should not await the previous approval under Section 17A," Gurm said. (Image Credit: Twitter)

A CBI officer, transferred in the wake of the present crisis in the probe agency, Wednesday claimed in the Delhi High Court that "lawful procedure" was followed for registration of a graft case against Special Director Rakesh Asthana and others.

CBI Additional Superintendent of Police S S Gurm said the FIR against Asthana and others were filed after taking the opinion of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narasimha.

The ASG said there was no need of obtaining a sanction from a competent authority for lodging the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

"The undersigned had gone through the complaint (against Asthana)... Having satisfied me of the genuineness of the complaint, and also that the matter was processed as per lawful procedure, agreed with the registration of the instant FIR," Gurm said in his application.

He said the issue was whether Section 17A of the PC Act shall be retrospectively applicable and whether prior approval of the competent authority was required before registration of the FIR.

"Vide his written opinion, the ASG has opined that there is no requirement of obtaining the sanction of the competent authority under Section 17A if an enquiry/inquiry or investigation has already commenced on the date of coming into force of Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"Further, the ASG has advised that whenever a cognisable offence comes to the notice of a law enforcement agency, the FIR/PE must be registered and it should not await the previous approval under Section 17A," Gurm said.

The newly-inserted section 17A of the PC Act makes it mandatory to have an approval from the government for carrying out an investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant.

According to the section, no police officer shall conduct an inquiry against a public servant, alleged to have indulged in corruption, without the sanction from the Centre or the state government, depending on where the public servant concerned is employed.

The officer told the court that the question of prior approval from the competent authority before conducting any investigation by any public servant would arise only when the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision was taken by the said public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties.

"A bare perusal of the instant FIR that would reveal that the basis of the FIR is not predicated on any recommendation or decision taken by the public servant/petitioner herein in a discharge of his official's functions or duties," he said.

Gurm said there was "reasonable" apprehension that the agency would not effectively contest the petition filed Rakesh Asthana seeking quashing of an FIR against him in a bribery case.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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