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High Court seeks to know legal basis for Anti-corruption Bureau’s formation

Bengaluru: Observing that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is not akin to Lokayukta, the High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government seeking to know the legal basis on which the ACB was established.

Staying the FIR registered by the ACB against suspended BBMP chief engineer K T Nagaraju in a disproportionate assets case, Justice Anand Byrareddy asked why the ACB was formed when “everything was fine under Lokayukta”.

Nagaraju had challenged the constitution of the ACB itself, besides the case registered against him. The judge issued notices to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, the Home Department and the ACB.

Nagaraju’s counsel argued that the investigating agency has to be free and fair as ruled by the Supreme Court. However, the ACB, constituted by an executive order, comes under the direct control of the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, the counsel argued.

The counsel argued that investigation into offences punishable under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the procedures are prescribed under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.

When the field is occupied by legislation, it is impermissible to invoke the Article 162 of the Constitution by the executive to establish ACB. Only in the absence or lacuna in the law created by the legislature, the Executive can supplement the parent legislation/law.

However, the executive has no power to create a police force by way of an executive order, the counsel argued. The ACB was constituted by disbanding the Lokayukta police wing on March 14, 2016.

The court also stayed the proceedings initiated by the ACB against Gayathri N Nayak, Special Land Acquisition Officer, National Highways, Mangaluru. Gayathri had challenged the case registered against her under Prevention of Corruption Act on the ground that ACB cannot register the case “unless it is declared as a police station”.

HC stays CBI court order on probe into rape case

The High Court stayed the order of the CBI Special Court which directed the CBI for further investigation into the rape and murder of 17-year-old Soujanya of Ujire, Dharmasthala.  Hearing the petition filed by the accused, Justice Anand Byrareddy stayed the Special Court order dated February 7, 2017.

The three accused Dhiraj Jain, Uday Jain and Malik Jain have challenged order of the Special Court which ordered the CBI to  submit a report by April 24.

On November 25, 2016, the HC had stayed the summons issued by CBI Special Court to the three accused in connection with the alleged murder of Soujanya.

The CBI Special Court had issued summons to them on November 19 in response to the application filed by the girl’s father seeking to implead them as additional accused. The Special Court had asked them to appear before the court on November 29, 2016.

CBI Special Court had slammed CBI for a shoddy probe. While asking the CBI to probe further, the CBI special court observed: “It is a case of brutal rape and murder. The investigation of the CBI shows that they have recorded only the statement of the witnesses whom they like, but they have left out the statements of the material witnesses. Hence the CBI is ordered to take this matter on priority basis and submit report by April 24, 2017.”

Soujanya was found raped and murdered at Pangala near Dharmasthala on October 9, 2012. The case was handed to CBI after public protests.

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