orissa high court

Orissa High Court: In a batch of transfer petitions filed by the Director of Seashore Group of Companies (‘petitioner’) seeking transfer of criminal cases pending against him to the Special Judge Central Bureau of Investigation (‘CBI’), the Single Judge Bench of Dr. S. Muralidhar, CJ., dismissed the transfer petitions.

In the matter at hand, several First Information Reports (‘FIR’) were registered against the petitioner, his relatives and other office bearers of the Seashore Group of Companies and Cooperative Societies wherein it was alleged that they had accepted money from various investors/depositors and did return the money. The Supreme Court vide order dated 09-05-2014 granted liberty to the CBI to conduct investigation in respect of all the cases registered against the Seashore Group of Companies. The CBI filed a charge sheet on 07-03-2015 in the Court of the Special Chief Judicial Magistrate, CBI under Sections 120(B), 420, 409 IPC and Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and clubbed around 22 FIRs. The Petitioner was aggrieved that the CBI had taken in its ambit only 22 FIRs and left out 19 other FIRs and therefore, the petitioner was seeking transfer of those 19 FIRs to the Special Judge, CBI. The petitioner had filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking direction to the CBI to take over investigation of the left-out cases, however, the said petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The Court noted that the Petitioner had first moved an application before the Supreme Court making similar prayer and it was also noted the petitioner did not withdraw the writ petition filed by him in the Supreme Court with liberty to approach the High Court for a similar relief. Therefore, the Court said that consequently, it would not be proper for the Court to entertain the prayer that the cases arising out of those left out 19 FIRs should now be tried by the Special Judge, CBI, Bhubaneswar. The Court also added that in a Special CBI Court the prosecutor is the CBI itself, however, in the present case, in the left out 19 cases it was obvious that the CBI would not be the prosecutor, but the local Police. Therefore, the Court said that the transfer of such cases to CBI Court would be impermissible in law.

Regarding the argument of ‘same offence’ and ‘same transaction’, the Court said that all the cases which were sought to be transferred did not constitute the ‘same offence’ and the part of the ‘same cause of action’. The Court also said that allowing the prayer of the petitioner would mean permitting the petitioner to overcome the order of the Supreme Court.

Therefore, the Court dismissed the transfer petitions.

[Prashanta Kumar Dash v. State of Orissa, 2023 SCC OnLine Ori 4544, Order dated: 14-07-2023]

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