HC rejects quashing of FIR in multi-crore FCI scam

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Aug 2: High Court today rejected the plea for quashing of the FIR lodged against accused involved in misappropriation of money worth Rs 15 crores in Food Corporation of India.
Justice MK Hanjura dismissed the petition of one ‘Baljit Singh’ and associates recorded that the FIR in a case like the present one cannot be quashed promptly without allowing the CBI to make an appropriate investigation of the case.
After perusal of the material on record, the court said that a huge amount of money spreading over Rs 14.74 crores has been misappropriated, as a result, the FCI is said to have suffered loss in an equivalent amount of money.
Singh and his associate, had challenged the FIR registered in Police Station CBI, Srinagar on a written complaint of Chief General Manager (Vigilance) Food Corporation of India pertaining to the misappropriation of rice and wheat stocks at PEG (Private Entrepreneur Guarantee) Store, Baramulla, valued at over Rs 14 crores.
Court said the FIR registered against them on various counts which can be decided and determined on the culmination of the investigation of the case. “Who knows what will be the fate of the investigation of the case and in which direction it will land”, it said.
“The allegations leveled against the petitioners and others including the officers/officials of the FCI as is palpable from the FIR appeared to be serious in nature and the mandate of law justified that the matter should be investigated into its entirety without aborting it midway”, Court said.
“Any comment on that count is not warranted to be made at this stage. It can be seen only after a full dressed investigation of the case”, read the Judgment.
The food grains are alleged to have been loaded in scooters, tractors, HGV and motor cycles, as per the report laid in the matter by the authorities of the FCI.
The report provided the mode and manner in which the documents have been allegedly fudged and forged to obtain undue pecuniary gains. “The investigation of the case cannot be scuttled, stalled and thwarted at this stage of the initial probe in the matter of the embezzlement of a huge amount of money. The FIR in a case like the present one cannot be quashed promptly without allowing the CBI to make an appropriate investigation of the case”, the court has held.
Underscoring the Supreme Court rulings, the court said, FIR cannot be quashed at the threshold itself without allowing the investigation to proceed. “The investigation will reveal as to who is/are the person/persons, who have embezzled such a huge amount of money thereby causing a huge loss to the national exchequer”, read the judgment.
“Therefore, taking into consideration the above, the petition of the petitioners’ entails dismissal, as a sequel to which, the same is dismissed and interim directions passed in the case shall stand vacated. It needs must be said that any observation made in this order shall not be taken as observations on merits and the investigating authority shall consider the matter on its own merits”, court concluded.
It is stated in the complaint that 130 Trucks were missing during the reconciliation from the records at the Lower Munda (Qazigund) which have been shown to have been acknowledged and also in the reconciliation statements.
The genuineness of the stamp affixed on the challans of these 130 Trucks was cross checked with the specimen copy of stamps obtained from Lower Munda (Qazigund). It was found that fake stamps have been affixed on these challans and it appears that stocks have been misappropriated by the transport contractor i.e. M/s Gagan Traders and M/S Walia Goods & Transport, both from Punjab in connivance and collusion with the Food Corporation India Staff, the State Government officials and the owner of PEG Baramulla, between the dispatching depot of Bhogpur and Kartarpur, under FCI District Office Jalandhar and Lower Munda Check Post.
The complaint further read that since various parties, FCI employees as well as State machinery appear to be involved in this criminal misappropriation of FCI Stocks and forgery of documents; therefore, it is requested to take up the investigation of the matter and to proceed against the culprits under the appropriate provisions of criminal law.
As per the complaint and as per prima facie proof, the petitioner as well as FCI employees of Baramulla are found involved in the criminal misappropriation of FCI stocks of rice and wheat dispatched for FCI Baramulla, from FCI Punjab. The place of occurrence is Baramulla, situated within the State of J&K.