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SC Dismisses PIL Seeking Probe Into Sahara-Birla Diaries

Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the PIL seeking a thorough probe into the Sahara-Birla papers that had named a list of political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ashok Bagriya | CNN-News18

Updated:January 12, 2017, 7:48 AM IST
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SC Dismisses PIL Seeking Probe Into Sahara-Birla Diaries
A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: Dismissing the PIL that sought investigation against politicians whose names surfaced in the diaries and documents recovered by the CBI during its raids on the premises of Birla and Sahara offices, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said no case is made out.

This order will have a bearing on cases seeking criminal investigation against public functionaries solely on the basis of diary entries.

Adjudicating on the issue, the Supreme Court said: "The top court has considered the question of entries in the Jain hawala case and it held that such entries are not admissible as evidence. Entries in books which are not regular account books are not evidence and for investigations independent evidence is required".

Defending the government, the Attorney General said: "If investigation was ordered by the court, a dangerous trend would be set and all and sundry would approach courts triggering filings of crores of cases."

The high-voltage hearing was conducted by a new bench of justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy which said "courts have to be on guard" while dealing with matters demanding probe against high functionaries as the case in hand was devoid of any "cogent" material or "independent evidence corroborating materials" to order investigation.

The new bench was constituted as Prashant Bhushan, lawyer for the Common Cause, had sought recusal of the then Chief Justice of India-designate, Justice JS Khehar, on the ground that his file for elevation for CJI was pending with the executive headed by the Prime Minister.

Dissatisfied with the loose sheets, which were claimed to be part of the diary entries of the Sahara Group and Aditya Birla Group, containing entries like "Gujarat CM" and other politicians, the bench said materials placed on record by the NGO, Common Cause were not maintained by the two business housed in the regular course of business.

Another bench of the court had earlier termed the loose sheets and other material "zero material" to order investigation.

The apex court on Wednesday said, "There has to be, in our opinion, some cogent and admissible evidence and some other circumstances to show that person against whom allegations are levelled is involved in the matter or has done some act in that period which may have correlation with random entries.

"In case, we don't insist on all this, the process of law can be abused to achieve ulterior goals and no one can survive in case investigation are readily ordered against constitutional functionaries without cogent materials on record," it said.

(With agency inputs)

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