Bombay High Court tells ACB not to file criminal charges against SRA ex-CEO
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed initiation of criminal proceedings against former chief of Slum Rehabilition Authority, Vishwas Patil. The court directed the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) not to register any FIR against him as ordered by a special lower court.
The high court was hearing a petition by Patil observed that he had raised significant questions or law on the issue or prior sanction required before registration of a criminal case against a public servant. His counsel, Amit Desai, with advocate Subir Kumar argued that under a Maharashtra amendment to the criminal procedural law, a sanction is required to be taken when there are accusations under the Indian Penal Code against a public servant, even a former one. Desai said that the lower court passed an order without segregating offences against him.
Patil’s petition challenges the validity of an order of the special judge under the Prevention of Corruption Act which had ordered the ACB to register a first information report (FIR) against him as former Mumbai suburban collector and former chief executive officer of Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), his wife and two developers Ramji Shah and Rasesh Kanakia.
Desai said that the law requires prior sanction to be taken before a court can order a probe against a person who is or was a public servant. He also said Patil was merely discharging his “ministerial functions” as a collector in 2009 on a decision taken by someone else.
The ACB special judge had last month passed the order against Patil and others on a private complaint filed by a Malad resident and shop occupant Hitendra Yadav. The lower court had agreed with Pratap’s submission that law doesn’t require prior sanction to register a criminal case of corruption against Patil, a public servant, as he had retired in June. The ACB has not yet registered the FIR.
Patil has contended that the plot was divided for FSI use by SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority), not him and he was not even in SRA when the letter of intent was issued. His wife is also a petitioner. The petition said that “Chandrasena Vishwas Patil” was not a director in Shah Housecon Pvt. Ltd.” The Patils had pleaded that no coercive steps be taken against them and the trial court order be set aside.