BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court quashed the criminal proceedings pending before the Special Court for CBI Cases in city against lawyer Satish Chand Sharma and chartered accountant Krishna Chaurasia, in relation to alleged bribing of senior Income Tax officials.
Justice P S Dinesh Kumar on July 2, 2019 quashed the proceedings against Sharma and Chaurasia while allowing the petitions filed by them.
The CBI registered FIR alleging that accused Sharma, a practicing lawyer offered to resolve some income tax matters pertaining to accused Krishna Chaurasia, who was managing and controlling Shanti Pan Masala Pvt Ltd and few other firms, and allegedly collected Rs 95 lakh, including Rs 30 lakh in Kolkata, Rs 30 lakh in Chennai and Rs 35 lakh in Bengaluru. In this process, the CBI officials apprehended three accused persons and had prayed the court to take conginsance of offences under the provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
"It is clear that the accused are three private persons. CBI has recorded that no case pertaining to Krishna Chaurasia, accused no.2, was pending in any one of three places namely Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. In any event, it is a financial transaction between three private persons. In the circumstances, the registeration of FIR by the CBI to investigate into any offences and conducting any investigation thereon is clearly abuse of process of law. Resultantly, the petitions merit consideration and they are accordingly allowed", Justice Dinesh Kumar said while quashing the proceedings pending before the Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Bengaluru, against the petitioners.
The accused petitioners moved the High Court contending that all three accused are private persons and therefore not amenable to the jurisdiction of CBI to investigate into any offence under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. He also pointed out that no case pertaining to Krishna Chaurasia was pending with any income tax office either in Kolkata, Chennai or in Bengaluru. In this background of the facts, registeration of FIR by the CBI amounts to abuse of process of law, he argued.
The CBI counsel did not dispute the facts narrated by the counsel of the petitioners.
The story above is an update to our earlier story:
BENGALURU: The Central Bureau of Investigation’s Bengaluru branch has recently arrested five people from New Delhi, including a lawyer and chartered accountant, for allegedly trying to bribe senior Income Tax officials in different cities, including Bengaluru, to settle matters related to a pan masala company pending before the I-T Department.
The FIR submitted to the Special Court for CBI cases on August 30, names lawyer Satish Chand Sharma, chartered accountant Krishna Chaurasia, businessmen Vinod Kumar Banka and Sanjay Kohli and another individual, Abhishek.
According to the materials collected by CBI, accused Sharma claims to have good contacts in the I-T department at the senior level. It is alleged that Chaurasia was managing and controlling Shanti Pan Masala Pvt Ltd and few other firms and has some cases pending before the I-T department at various places. Chaurasia engaged Sharma for getting the cases settled in lieu of huge illegal gratification for the I-T officers concerned.
Sharma visited Kolkata on August 2 and Chennai on August 16 and delivered money to the tune of Rs 30 lakh at each location separately to be delivered to senior I-T officials. Sharma also visited Bengaluru and stayed at Crescent Hotel on August 30. He had demanded Rs 35 lakh from Chaurasia to be given to the I-T officials concerned and informed him to get it delivered to the hotel. The same day, CBI laid a trap and caught one Abhishek who delivered Rs 35 lakh to Sharma in the hotel and recovered the money. Chaurasia was arrested on September 1.
Names of I-T officials not disclosed
Sharma did not disclose the name of the IT officers to whom the money was to be paid. The CBI has recorded a conversation between Sharma and Chaurasia which reveals that Sharma received Rs 32 lakh at Chennai on August 16, Rs 30 lakh at Kolkata and Rs 35 lakh in Bengaluru.
The conversation also revealed that Sharma has contacted some persons in Delhi to transfer the money through hawala route. Sharma collected Rs 30 lakh at Kolkata on August 2 through a dealer of Shanthi Pan Masala. He then requested Vinod Kumar Banka to transfer the money from Kolkata to Delhi. Banka, a director of Chanchal Logistics Pvt Ltd, Delhi, issued cheques from the current account of his firm in the name of Ankit Sharma, son of Satish Chand Sharma, director of Om Sai Udyog Pvt Ltd and thereby facilitated hawala transaction.
Sharma, who received Rs 32 lakh in Chennai and Rs 35 lakh in Bengaluru, had also requested Sanjay Kohli, a businessman, for transferring the money to Delhi from Chennai and Bengaluru. On receiving the cash, Kohli issued cheques in the name of Madhushree Sharma, daughter-in-law of Sharma, from his current account.
The CBI arrested Banka and Kohli on September 10. All four accused have been remanded to judicial custody. However, Abhishek, the third accused, was released on bail.