The Inspector of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), EOW, Chennai seeks for extension of police custody of A.2 & A.5 for a further period of three days from today. = their lordships of High court granted

The Inspector of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), EOW, Chennai seeks for extension of police custody of A.2 & A.5 for a further period of three days from today. = their lordships of High court granted=
whether police can seek a person for custodial interrogation. The parameters for custodial interrogation are quite different from the right of police to investigate into a cognizable offence.    
          Where the trial Court itself thought it appropriate to order for custodial interrogation of A.2 & A.5, I consider that the issue has been settled once and for all, where the accused did not choose to question the order in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014 and allowed the same to become final.  What CBI now seeks for is an extension of the order in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014.
          I consider that it would be appropriate to extend the same for a period of two more days in view of the circumstances narrated by the CBI.  The conditions under which the interrogation is to be conducted as determined by the trial Court in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014 deserve to be maintained.
Accordingly, the Criminal Revision Case is disposed of granting permission to CBI to continue the custody of A.2 & A.5 for a further period of two days i.e., on 12.03.2014 and 13.03.2014.  CBI shall produce A.2 & A.5 before the trial Court by 4 p.m. on 13.03.2014.  CBI shall hold the interrogation in accordance with the directions issued by the trial Court in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014.

CRLRC 493 / 2014
CRLRCSR 8949 / 2014

PETITIONERRESPONDENT
STATE REP BY INSPECTOR OF POLICE  VSSHRI K.SIVA RAMA KRISHNA AND ANOTHERS
PET.ADV. : KESAVA RAO,SPL SC FOR CBIRESP.ADV. : 
SUBJECT: Acquittal-C.B.I CasesDISTRICT:  HYDERABAD

HON’BLE Dr. JUSTICE K.G. SHANKAR

Crl.R.C.No.493 of 2014

Date:   11.03.2013
Between:
State represented by
Inspector of Police,
SPE: CBI: EOW: Chennai.                        .. Petitioner/
                                                                      Complainant

          AND

Shri K. Siva Rama Krishna,
and another.                                              .. Respondents/
                                                                      A.2 & A.5

         

HON’BLE Dr. JUSTICE K.G. SHANKAR

Crl. R.C.No.493 of 2014

ORDER:
          The Inspector of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), EOW, Chennai seeks for extension of police custody of A.2 & A.5 for a further period of three days from today.
The standing counsel for CBI moved lunch motion yesterday. Notice was ordered to A.2 & A.5.  Both the accused have been in judicial custody and were subjected to custodial interrogation.  It is the contention of the learned standing counsel for CBI that notice was served upon A.2 & A.5. 
          Sri Amancharla V. Gopal entered appearance on behalf of A.2.  He initially sought for one day’s time.  As time was running out, the request could not be conceded.  The learned counsel representing A.2 cooperated and advanced his submissions. 
Sri M. Chelapati Rao, advocate submitted that he is representing A.5 and sought time till tomorrow for filing response of A.5.  As there is no scope for granting further time -- in which event the very petition may become infructuous -- the request was turned out.  Orders are passed after hearing the learned standing counsel for the petitioner and the learned counsel for A.2. No one represented A.5.
          A case was registered against five accused on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Deputy General Manager, IDBI Bank Limited, Specialized Corporate Branch, Hyderabad
The case was registered under Sections 120-B, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC as well as under Sections 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
          It is alleged that the second accused who is the proprietor of M/s. Siva Constructions (A.1) entered into a criminal conspiracy with the other accused with a dishonest intention to cheat IDBI bank and that in furtherance of the said criminal conspiracy, A.2 fraudulently submitted exaggerated valuation report of his properties which were offered as collateral security and also produced a spurious net worth certificate dated 14.05.2010.
          It is also alleged that either a fake or forged market value assistance card purportedly issued by the Sub-Registrar, Maheswaram was produced by A.2 and availed credit facility of Rs.10 crores on the basis of the same. 
A.2 allegedly diverted the funds and misappropriated the same for his personal needs and cheated IDBI bank causing wrongful loss of Rs.10.20 crores to the bank.
          So far as A.5 is concerned, it is the case of the prosecution that A.5 played a key role in arranging false or forged market value assistance card and false net worth certificate in the name of A.2 and facilitated A.2 to divert the funds through the non-existing firms of A.5. The investigating agency consequently sought for police custody of A.2 & A.5 for custodial interrogation as both the accused had already been arrested. 
On 04.03.2014, orders were passed by the learned Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderbad in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014 permitting police custody and custodial interrogation from 05.03.2014 till 07.03.2014.  Directions were issued that the interrogation should be from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. only on 05.03.2014 and 06.03.2014 and from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. only on 07.03.2014 and that the interrogation should be in the presence of their respective counsel. 
The petitioner-CBI filed a fresh petition in Crl.M.P.No.324 of 2014 seeking permission to extend the custodial interrogation for a period of four days till 10.03.2014. Through the impugned orders dated 07.03.2014, the learned trial Judge dismissed the petition.  Hence, the present revision.
          The learned counsel for A.2 inter alia questioned the failure of CBI to seek for the arrest and custodial interrogation of A.3 & A.4. The learned standing counsel for CBI submitted that A.3-Manager of IDBI bank is 84 years old and that he has been cooperating with the investigation. 
The learned counsel for CBI submitted that in view of the advanced age of A.3, CBI is not willing to seek for custodial interrogation of A.5. He further submitted that A.4 is a Chartered Accountant and that A.4 is 74 years old.
The learned counsel for CBI further informed that A.4 also has been cooperating with the investigation, so much so,
it did not become necessary to seek for custodial interrogation of A.4.  He submitted that this application may not be rejected on the ground that CBI did not seek for custodial interrogation of A.3 & A.4. 
I wholly agree with this contention of the learned counsel for CBI that the parameters for custodial interrogation of each accused differ; therefore, it cannot be a general rule that where CBI did not seek for custodial interrogation of A.3 & A.4, there should be no custodial interrogation of A.2 & A.5.  At any rate, that question does not arise as the trial Court did not grant for custodial interrogation of A.3 & A.4.  The primary question is whether the custodial interrogation of A.2 & A.5 can be extended till 12.03.2014.
          The learned counsel for A.2 drew my attention to the initial petition submitted by CBI in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014. CBI sought for police custody of A.2 & A.5 for a period of 3 days. The same was ordered through Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014. It is the contention of the learned counsel for A.2 that when the custodial interrogation as desired by CBI had been ordered, there is no justification in CBI seeking for extension of custodial interrogation.  
          Sri P. Kesava Rao, learned standing counsel for CBI submitted that custodial interrogation could not be completed and that CBI would at least need two more days.  He further submitted that custodial interrogation at any rate cannot be granted after 13.03.2014 as 15 days from the date of arrest would elapse preventing the Court from granting custodial interrogation.  He submitted that A.2 & A.5 were brought before the CBI office at 11.30 a.m. on 05.03.2014 and had to be taken for lunch immediately and could be interrogated from 1.30 p.m. onwards only.  He further submitted that A.2 & A.5 could be interrogated for half-a-day on 05.03.2014 and the next day only.  He contended that the interrogation therefore could not be completed. The learned standing counsel for CBI also submitted that on 06.03.2014, A.5 had to be taken out to trace a person by name Vasant, who allegedly assisted A.5 in procuring false and spurious documents and that it, therefore, is necessary for CBI to interrogate A.2 & A.5 further. Inter alia, the learned standing counsel for CBI contended that the CBI has inherent power to investigate and that the same cannot be interfered with.
          In Manubhai Ratilal Patel Tr. Ushaben v. State of Gujarat[1], the Supreme Court observed that investigation is in the exclusive domain of police and that Magistrate does not have control over the same.  In Dharmeshbhai Vasudevbhai v. State of Gujarat[2], the Supreme Court noticed that the Magistrate has limited power to interfere with the statutory right of police to investigate. In State of Bihar v. J.A.C. Saldamma[3], the Supreme Court observed that it would not be open ordinarily for the High Court to interfere with the investigation in respect of a cognizable offence.  Finally, in S.N. Sharma v. Bipen Kumar Tiwari[4], interpreting Sections 159, 156 and 157 of the old Criminal Procedure Code, the Supreme Court noticed that Magistrate has no power to stop investigation. 
There is no dispute that investigating agency has right to investigate.  The question is whether police can seek a person for custodial interrogation. The parameters for custodial interrogation are quite different from the right of police to investigate into a cognizable offence.    
          Where the trial Court itself thought it appropriate to order for custodial interrogation of A.2 & A.5, I consider that the issue has been settled once and for all, where the accused did not choose to question the order in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014 and allowed the same to become final.  What CBI now seeks for is an extension of the order in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014.
          I consider that it would be appropriate to extend the same for a period of two more days in view of the circumstances narrated by the CBI.  The conditions under which the interrogation is to be conducted as determined by the trial Court in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014 deserve to be maintained.
Accordingly, the Criminal Revision Case is disposed of granting permission to CBI to continue the custody of A.2 & A.5 for a further period of two days i.e., on 12.03.2014 and 13.03.2014.  CBI shall produce A.2 & A.5 before the trial Court by 4 p.m. on 13.03.2014.  CBI shall hold the interrogation in accordance with the directions issued by the trial Court in Crl.M.P.No.285 of 2014. Miscellaneous Petitions, if any, pending in this revision shall stand closed.


                                                        ____________________
                                                         Dr. K.G. Shankar, J.
Date:   11.03.2014
Isn
Note: In view of urgency, office is directed to
         immediately release the operative operation
         of the order for implementation.
         (B/o.) Isn


[1] 2013 CRI. L.J. 160
[2] 2009 CRI. L.J. 2969 (1)
[3] AIR 1970 SC 326
[4] AIR 1970 SC 786

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