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LC cross-voting case: 6 MLAs granted last opportunity to file reply
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JAMMU, Jul 3(JNF): Division Bench of state High Court comprising Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir and Justice Tashi Rabstan, in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by SOS International in the case of Legislative Council cross-voting case, today granted last and final opportunity of three weeks to six MLAs viz., Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Durga Dass, Prof Gharu Ram, Bharat Bhushan Bodhi, Jagdish Sapolia and Lal Chand to file reply.

Division Bench, after hearing advocate S S Ahmed appearing for the petitioners, and senior AAG Gagan Basotra for the state and senior advocates Sunil Sethi, S K Shukla, Harshwardan Gupta, Parimoksh Sethi and Anil Khajuria for the MLAs, observed that advocate Shakeel Ahmed filed reply to the status report filed by Commissioner Vigilance Organization.

According to the reply, the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) filed its status report in terms of order dated 04-10-2012 passed by this Court wherein it was illegally/arbitrarily concluded that the allegations/grounds in the complaints were vague, wild and of general nature which did not disclose any instance of transactions, hence, did not warrant initiation of verification/enquiry in light of Rule 3.5 (II) J&K Vigilance Manual, 2008.

“The stand taken by the SVO is utterly misconceived and against the established position of law. In the instant case the SVO instead of registering an FIR under Section 5(2) PC Act and other provisions of law opted to close the matter primarily with oblique motives as the beneficiaries of the cross voting were the ruling coalition partners and since SVO is directly under the administrative control of the state government as such the SVO even did not enquire into the matter and closed the matter in a manner unknown to law,” the reply added.

“It is settled law of the land that if a complaint discloses the commission of a cognizable offence then an FIR has to be registered but in the instant case a unique procedure was followed and the status report filed by the SVO merits to be rejected and indulgence of this Court is warranted so that investigation is commenced and culprits are brought to book. It is apt to point out here that without investigating the matter the SVO arbitrarily closed the matter,” it was pointed out.

“The petitioners in their complaint had expressly mentioned that cross voting took place on extraneous/monetary considerations and in support of this the petitioners had enclosed number of press clippings but even then the SVO did not deem it proper to investigate the allegations leveled in the complaint and gave a clean chit to all those who resorted to cross voting on monetary considerations. The act of SVO in closing the matter without investigating was an exhibition of undue pressure from the vested interests and under these circumstances appropriate directions were warranted in the matter so that law could take its own course,” the division Bench held.

With this observation, the Division Bench granted final and last opportunity to Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Durga Dass, Prof Gharu Ram, Bharat Bhushan Bodhi, Jagdish Sapolia and Lal Chand to file reply.

In another petition, the Division Bench after hearing advocate Aditya Gupta for the petitioner, senior AAG Gagan Basotra for the state and senior advocate Sunil Sethi with advocate Veenu Gupta, senior advocate M K Bhardwaj with advocate Ajay Abrol, advocates S K Shukla, Harshwardan Gupta for the respondents, also directed respondents to file reply within three weeks.

News Updated at : Wednesday, July 3, 2013
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