Free Press Journal

Coal scam: Court dismisses plea seeking return of passport


New Delhi: A special court today dismissed the plea of businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, an accused in a coal blocks allocation case, seeking return of his passport seized by the CBI, saying the law does not allow the court to release it.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said the court has no power to release the passport after it is impounded by the passport authorities, under the Passports Act, 1967.

“The Passports Act, 1967 does not confer any power upon this court to order release of passport of a person after it has come to be impounded by the concerned passport authorities after following due process of law,” the court said.

During the hearing, Jayaswal’s counsel argued that CBI, during the course of investigation, had seized the passport. The investigating officer had later informed that his passport was sent to Nagpur’s passport officer for the purpose of impounding.

He said when he moved the Chief Passport Officer seeking release of his passport, he was told that specific relief is to be sought from the court for restoration of passport facilities.

On this, the court said, “merely because the Chief Passport Officer in his order stated that in case applicant/ accused need to travel abroad, he may seek permission from the court concerned for restoration of passport facilities, the same cannot confer power upon this Court to act beyond what the law permits.

“The passport of applicant/accused Manoj Kumar Jayaswal has since been impounded by the concerned passport authorities and the appeal preferred by him before the Chief Passport Officer has also since been dismissed.

“In these circumstances, I am of the considered opinion that when the passport of applicant/accused stands impounded, the question of granting permission to him to travel abroad will be an exercise in futility as in the absence of his passport, accused/applicant cannot travel abroad,” the judge said.

CBI has chargesheeted Manoj Jayaswal, Director of Nagpur -based AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda and the firm, as accused in a coalscam case for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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