Mumbai: The 63 moons technologies has moved the Bombay High Court to expedite the CBI probe against former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and two retired bureaucrats Ramesh Abhishek and K. P. Krishnan on a complaint, alleging abuse of official position to damage the company in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy.
The company filed a criminal writ petition on July 4, seeking appropriate directions from the Bombay High Court in this matter.
Taking cognizance of the urgency of the matter, in its order dated July 10, the Bombay High Court granted liberty to the complainant, 63 moons technologies, to serve the copy of the criminal writ petition to the respondents and kept the next hearing on July 17.
Notably, 63 moons had filed a criminal complaint on February 15, 2019, with the CBI against P. Chidambaram, Ramesh Abhishek, former Chairman of Forward Markets Commission (FMC) and K. P. Krishnan, former Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, for their deliberate and malicious actions that have resulted in substantial damage to the company and sought prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and IPC.
However, the central agency is yet to register an FIR as committed to the High Court against the accused and also inform the company about the action taken against the accused.
Aggrieved by the inaction of the CBI, according to the petition, 63 moons filed a criminal writ petition on June 20, 2019, with the Bombay High Court, seeking direction against the CBI to register an FIR. During the hearing held on August 7, 2019, the CBI counsel advocate Venegaonkar had stated that the complaint is being verified and on completion of the verification process, an inquiry will be initiated and the complainant will be informed of the development.
Despite appearing before the agency in New Delhi for examination more than six months ago, the petition said, there has been no communication from the CBI regarding the complaint. Replying to the follow-up letter by the company on March 2, 2020, the CBI merely stated: "Complaint has been examined and verified and forwarded to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Ministry of Finance for Approval of Competent Authority as per Section 17-A of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988."
Having found substance after verification of the complaint, as per the petition, the CBI sent the same to the CVO seeking to substantiate the allegations and approval under section 17A of the PC Act from the competent authority to proceed further in the 63 moons complaint. As per the section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, competent authority has three months to convey its decision, which can be extended further by one month for reasons separately recorded into writing.
The petition noted that four months have passed without any communication from the competent authority on approval. Taking this as a deemed approval, the CBI should have gone ahead and registered the FIR, but the investigating agency was yet to register the FIR, it added.
In view of the unreasonable delay by the CBI in investigating Chidambaram and the two retired IAS officers, Ramesh Abhishek and K. P. Krishnan, for hatching conspiracy against 63 moons technologies, the company again filed the writ petition in the Bombay High Court early this month to seek its appropriate directions. The Bombay High Court would hear the matter on July 17.
Meanwhile, according to sources, Ramesh Abhishek, the 1982-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, Atanu Chakraborty, former Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Injeti Srinivas, a 1983-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, Madhabi Puri Buch, the current whole-time member of SEBI, and N. S. Vishwanathan, former Deputy Governor of the RBI, among others are likely to be interviewed for the next SEBI chief this week.
The petition pointed out, "The past conduct of Mr. Ramesh Abhishek as FMC Chairman is also under probe in this case. In such, helming him as market regulator would be seriously detrimental to the public interest. It also makes him unfit for any position with the SEBI as per section 6 of SEBI Act, 1992."