CHENNAI: Why a CBI probe can’t be ordered into the alleged gutka scam, wondered the first bench of the Madras High Court on Monday. Expressing its serious concern over the issue, the bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar made the observation when a PIL from DMK MLA J Anbazhagan came up for hearing on Monday.The alleged involvement of a State minister and a top police officer in the rank of DGP in the scam is serious in nature, the bench added.
It adjourned the matter to September 11 with a direction to the authorities concerned to file their reply.
In his PIL, the DMK MLA sought to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by a retired judge of the High Court with the officials drawn from the CBI and other departments, to take all steps to seize and eradicate the banned items, more particularly gutka and pan masala containing tobacco and/or nicotine as per a gazette notification dated May 23, 2015 of the Commissioner of Food Safety and Drug Administration and in consonance with the directions of the Supreme Court including registering his complaint dated July 11 last and investigate the involvement of State and Central government officials and public servants in the scam.
Petitioner’s senior counsel P Wilson submitted that on seeing that the banned items - gutka and pan masala - containing tobacco and/or nicotine are sold in Tamil Nadu and particularly in Chennai freely, MK Stalin, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, produced evidence and photographs on July 19.
Since a minister of the State and high-level State and Central government officers including high level police officials are involved in this scam, no free, fair or impartial investigation can be conducted by the State Police.
Only the CBI can conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this issue, Wilson contended.
“This is a classic case of fence grazing the crop. The person who was named by the IT department as the person who received the bribe was now conferred with the top post of DGP. Hence, no fair and impartial investigation can be expected from the State police,” petitioner’s senior counsel added.