Pazee Forex scam: Madras HC discharges TN IPS officer from extortion case

Justice Vivek Kumar Singh, passing orders on two petitions filed by Pramod Kumar on Friday, said the CBI has failed to prove the charges of extortion of money.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court(File photo| EPS)

CHENNAI: In a big reprieve to Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer, Pramod Kumar, the Madras High Court discharged him from the cases relating to extortion of money from the Pazee Forex India Trading Limited and set aside the orders of a special court for CBI cases and framing of charges against the officer.

Justice Vivek Kumar Singh, passing orders on two petitions filed by Pramod Kumar on Friday, said the CBI has failed to prove the charges of extortion of money.

The CBI, which took over the investigation into the multi-crore scam in 2011 following a High Court order, arrayed the IPS officer as the first accused along with a few other police officers of the Crime Branch of Tiruppur police for extorting money from the directors of Pazee Forex India Trading Limited to save them from the multi-crore scam.

The special court for CBI cases in Coimbatore dismissed a discharge petition filed by Pramod Kumar and framed charges in November 2023. Challenging the order of the CBI court and seeking discharge him from the case, he approached the High Court.

“After an elaborate and analytical assessment of the discussions and the submissions made on either side and scrutinizing the charges framed against the petitioner, this Court is of the considered opinion that the same (charges) is without application of mind and in violation to principles of natural justice,” Justice Vivek Kumar Singh said in the order.

He added, “... the offences levelled against the petitioner in framing the charges have not been proved by the respondent through any prima facie evidence and hence, the impugned orders of the trial Court (framing of charges) suffers from material infirmity and unsustainable in the eye of law.”

Setting aside the orders of the CBI court, he noted, “The CBI has not proved the essential ingredients of demand and acceptance as against the officer and merely saying that the other accused have received the money on behalf of him cannot substantiate their case which is only presumptive”.

He held that such presumption is ‘legally unsustainable in the eye of law’ and there is lot of difference between ‘may be true’ and ‘must be true’.

“On appreciation of the entire evidence of prosecution, it clearly indicates the prosecution has failed to prove the offences of the petitioner, herein, beyond all reasonable doubt,” the reasoned.

It may be noted that Pazee Forex scam caused a huge cry in the state in the late 2000s with the depositors, who had lost crores of rupee, accusing the police of conniving with fraudsters by taking huge amount of money. The company directors also levelled allegations against the police.

Pramod Kumar, then serving as Inspector General (IG) of Police, West Zone, was accused of demanding and accepting money from the directors through certain subordinate police officers. The CBI arrested him leading to his suspension from service. However, he was reinstated years later.

The Madras High Court, in 2011, ordered a probe by the CBI, following a petition filed by the aggrieved depositors.

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