Journalist investigating corporate fraud claims threat, SC asks for ensuring his safety
The apex court said the Attorney General has assured it that the matter will be looked into and adequate steps shall be taken to ensure personal safety of the person concerned and his family.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the copy of an affidavit, filed before it in a sealed cover by an investigative journalist probing a corporate fraud and claiming he was being stalked and attacked, to be sent to the office of the Attorney General so steps could be taken for his safety.
The issue cropped up before a bench headed by Chief Justice UU Lalit while it was hearing a plea related to a company which allegedly took loans from 27 banks and siphoned off the money.
Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, appearing for the petitioner, placed before the bench an affidavit in a sealed cover and said the journalist has investigated the corporate fraud and is now facing threats.
He said the man was also attacked on his way home in Noida.
The bench told Attorney General R Venkataramani, who was present in the court, that there is an allegation about a particular corporate fraud being looked into by a certain set of people, including investigative journalists, and one of the scribes has now filed an affidavit saying he is being followed and watched.
The bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and S R Bhat, apprehended the personal safety of the journalist may be compromised.
"We cannot disclose the name of that gentleman in the form of an order because we do not want it to be known", the bench said, adding it will forward a copy of the affidavit to the office of the Attorney General.
"You use your office and see to it that the man is provided security," the bench orally said.
The apex court said the Attorney General has assured it that the matter will be looked into and adequate and effective steps shall be taken to ensure personal safety of the person concerned and his family.
At the outset, the bench was informed by the petitioner's counsel about the company having taken loans from 27 banks and a forensic audit report indicating the money was swindled.
"I want to place something in sealed cover," the lawyer said, adding, "it is something important".
Noting that the journalist is fearing for his life, he urged the bench that a senior counsel be appointed to assist the court as an amicus curiae in the matter.
"because it is not just Rs 12,700 crore relating to one entity, there are two more entities which were also publicly listed and similar modus operandi have been followed in those entities as well and another Rs 12,500 crores have been siphoned through those two entities. So, total of approximately Rs 25,000 crore has been siphoned," the lawyer claimed.
The bench, while appointing a senior advocate as an amicus curiae, posted the matter for hearing on November 3.