KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered a CBI probe into as many as 1368 cases registered against the directors of the Popular Finance companies in connection with the cheating of depositors.
Justice P Somarajan issued the order on the petition filed by depositors seeking a CBI probe in the case. There are 258 branches spread over in and out of the state of Kerala. According to petitioners, the funds of the various institutions siphoned off even to foreign countries. The amount involved comes to Rs 1600 crores.
The court directed the CBI to take over the entire investigation and constitute a special investigation team with sufficient expertise in the economic offence probe to investigate cases. The team should consist of officers of unblemished integrity and competence.
The court also directed the State government to frame rules for the implementation of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits Scheme(BUDS) Act and appoint/notify a designated court in accordance with the BUDS act in two weeks.
The court also ordered that the competent authority under the BUDS act shall exercise its power under section 7(3) of the Act by provisionally attaching the deposits held by the deposit takers either in their name or any other person on their behalf including all properties which are under attachment under the Kerala Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment (KPID) Act and other assets connected with various firms run by the Popular companies.
The CBI special court should exercise the jurisdiction pertaining to the matters within their respective territorial jurisdiction both civil and criminal under the provision of the BUDS act till the appointment /notification of a designated court by the State government. All actions /order/proceedings taken by the CBI court during the interregnum will deem to have been taken by a designated court constituted under the BUDs Act.
The state government had requested the central government to entrust the case to CBI. The counsel for the central government submitted that so far no decision is taken. The request made by the state was not in proper form. The court said that mere technicalities shall not be permitted to stand in the way of the administration of justice.