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Toolkit Case: Chhattisgarh Govt Moves SC Against HC Relief to Raman Singh, Sambit Patra

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh

The Chhattisgarh HC on June 11 passed two separate orders and granted interim reliefs in the same FIR lodged against Singh and Patra.

The Chhattisgarh government has moved the Supreme Court against the high court orders granting stay of investigation in an FIR registered against senior BJP leader and former chief minister Raman Singh and the party’s spokesperson Sambit Patra for their tweets in alleged fake toolkit case. The Chhattisgarh High Court on June 11 passed two separate orders and granted interim reliefs in the same FIR lodged against Singh and Patra while noting that averments in the FIR reflected that by the tweets, Congressmen are aggravated which clearly indicates that no public peace or tranquility is being adversely affected and it is purely political rivalry between two political parties.

The high court said this prima facie, established that present FIR has been registered with political motives. The state government has filed two separate appeals through standing Counsel Sumeer Sodhi in the top court — one against the relief granted to Raman Singh and the other against the relief granted to Patra.

In its appeal against the order in Raman Singh case, the state government said that on June 11 at the stage of admission, the high court vide the impugned order not only admitted the frivolous petition but also erroneously granted an interim relief sought by the accused/ Respondent number 1 (Raman Singh) by staying the investigation arising out of the FIR. It sought setting aside of the orders on the ground that the top court has time and again held that extraordinary powers of the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution ought to be used sparingly and in rarest of rare cases.

The state government has further said that the high court erred in exercising such powers and staying the entire investigation as a nascent stage especially when ex-facie offence of forgery is made out and is writ large. It said that the state has been carrying out an investigation in accordance with law and considering the pandemic, has been fair in its conduct and the accused was given an opportunity to be present at his own house as per the notice sent to him and when the second notice was sent to him, he was given an option to be present through his lawyer.

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It said the high court completely overlooked these aspects while returning a finding against the state government that the FIR has been lodged with political motives. The state government said the defence of the accused ought not to be looked at the stage of quashing; however, in the present case the high court seems to have been wrongly swayed by the submission of the accused that he was not the author of the document and further that one Team Bharat was the actual author of the document.

It said that the impugned order is ex-facie illegal, perverse and in stark derogation of the settled principles of law vis–vis the powers of the High Court to interfere at the nascent stage of investigation, therefore, deserves to be set aside. The state government took similar grounds in the appeal filed in the case of Sambit Patra and sought setting aside of the order. It has in interim sought an ex-parte stay of ad-interim orders granting stay of the impugned order dated June 11 passed by the High Court.

On May 19, an FIR was lodged at Civil Lines Police Station here based on the complaint of Akash Sharma, the president of National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) Chhattisgarh unit, with the latter alleging that Singh, Patra and others had circulated fabricated content on social media platforms using a fake letterhead of the Congress by projecting it as a toolkit developed by the party.

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first published:July 01, 2021, 20:21 IST