The Supreme Court today rejected a probe into the Sahara-Birla diaries, which Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has used to allege that Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted kickbacks from corporate houses.
The apex court said the documents placed by Aam-Aadmi party member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan in case aren’t credible enough to direct a probe against Prime Minister and others.
The court said the process of law can be misused for ‘ulterior goals’ if such documents are treated as legal evidence, and a probe is ordered.
Earlier the NGO represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, on Thursday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court with additional evidence on alleged kickbacks received by top politicians from Sahara and Birla companies in return for favours done.
The Supreme Court has in the past three occasions asked the NGO to come up with “credible material” in support of its allegations against politicians, including current Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the time when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Common Cause submitted voluminous documents, including e-mails, as annexures to the affidavit.
The NGO said the additional affidavit and its attachment provide clear evidence that raids were conducted by the CBI on the Birla Group and by the Income-Tax Department on the Sahara Group; huge unaccounted amounts of cash were recovered in the raids; diaries, notebook, hand-written papers, computer documents were recovered in the raid; and the information compiled shows bribery of politicians and civil servants.
The NGO, in its fresh affidavit, has referred to a Constitution Bench judgment in the Lalita Kumari case and said “it is a settled law that the registration of an FIR is mandatory when the information discloses a cognisable offence” and the circumstances in the matter make out a “more than adequate case for directing a credible and independent investigation.”
Jain hawala case
Referring to the apex court’s direction in the Jain hawala case, it said the present case stood on a “much better footing” because there had been seizure of huge money in raids.
In the last hearing on December 16, the Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar (who is now the Chief Justice of India) and Justice Arun Mishra had not taken favourably to Mr. Bhushan pointing out the unsuitability of Justice Khehar hearing the NGO’s plea.
On the verge of a likely dismissal of his client’s petition for lack of credible material to support its claims against high constitutional authorities, Mr. Bhushan had said that as an officer of the court it was his duty to convey to the court that there may be rumours which may hurt the institution if Justice Khehar, whose papers of appointment was then pending with the government, continues to hear the petition.
However, the court had hit back, with Justice Mishra remarking that such submissions amounted to holding the court to ransom. The Bench had then posted the matter for January 11, 2017.