Madras HC requests CBI to investigate against Pondicherry University professor and others for misappropriation of funds

madras high court

Madras High Court: In a criminal original petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’) to direct the respondent/police to register a case based upon the petitioner’s complaint dated 04-02-2022, G. Jayachandran, J. has asked Central Bureau of Investigation(‘CBI’) to register the complaint and proceed with the investigation.

The petitioner had made a complaint on 06-01-2022 to the CBI alleging misappropriation of funds by the persons managing the affairs of Pondicherry University. As these persons being public servants, CBI thought fit to get prior sanction under Section 17-A of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, (‘PC Act’). Despite of several reminders, the Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Education had not responded to CBI’s request. Thus, the petitioner filed this petition seeking direction to the police to register the case based upon his complaint.

After perusing the status report filed by the Police, the Court found that the complainant had disclosed sufficient material to register the complaint and that is the reason why sanction under Section 17A was sought. The Under Secretary to the Government, after filing of the petition, had informed the CBI that the Executive Council of the University had decided not to grant sanction.

The Court noted that Section 17A has been introduced to the PC Act, by way of amendment to protect the officers from malicious prosecution. Further, it said that if the authorities who are supposed to accord sanction to register case does not apply their mind and take decision within a period of 3 months or within further period of one month, extended for the reason stated, then the Investigating Agency should take that the sanction as deemed to have been accorded. They need not wait for an order of sanction under Section 17A of the Act, any further. If they wait for more than the period prescribed, there is every possibility of screening the evidence. The provision which is incorporated for protecting honest officers cannot be allowed to be misused and abused to protect the dishonest officers to enable them to screen incriminating material against them.

The Court said that even after three reminders, the department concerned has not responded to the request of the CBI to accord sanction under Section 17A to register the complaint.

Even after a lapse of 4 months, the department concerned did not react and responded to the request and what they communicated belatedly after filing of this petition is ignored. Thus, the Court requested the CBI to register the complaint and proceed with the investigation.

[A. Anand v. Superintendent of Police, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 5257, Order dated 24-07-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate. R. Vivekananthan;

For Respondent: Special Public Prosecutor (CBI) K. Srinivasan.

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