The Andhra Pradesh HC has asked the CBI to probe into the theft of important case files from a Nellore Court. The case involves a serving Minister in the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh. Exercising suo moto writ jurisdiction. This was seen in the matter of Re v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Others, Suo Motu W.P. (PIL) No.69 of 2022, the consideration by the Bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra & Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy
FACTS OF THE CASE
The Andhra Pradesh HC, a division bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra & Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy said:
“When such importance is accorded to criminal cases opposed to M.L.As. & M.Ps, the court concerned at Nellore as well as the State machinery including the law enforcing agency should have taken due care & caution to secure the case property, otherwise, in the absence of case property being produced & proved in the court, trial against M.L.As. & M.Ps. may fail for lack of evidence. It is for this reason the matter assumes importance.”
The Court said if opportune & proper steps are not taken to book the culprits, people at large may lose faith in the judicial process.
“It is necessary to go to the depth of the incident as to who are involved/ commited in theft of case property, wherein mighty people are accused… the said crime is suitably handed over to the Central Bureau of inquisition for conducting proper inquisition & submission of charge sheet,” it ordered.
The case file in question connected to a trial opposed to Kakani Govardhan Reddy, a serving State Minister, under Sections 120B, 468, 469, 471 & 506 of IPC & Sections 54 & 71 of the IT Act, 2000. The assertions is that he along with other persons had concoct a conspiracy to defame the complainant in that case and that as a part of conspiracy, he had commenced making false assertions against the complainant in print & electronic media.
Several other allegations were levelled opposed to Reddy, who was being tried before the Court of IV Additional JM, Nellore.
The matter was taken up by the High after the Principal DJ of Nellore relented in a report, stating that the Additional JM informed him about the theft over phone call. On reaching the Court, he found that some case property was lying in the side canal located by the side of the court and some case property was missing. It was also noted in the exposition that the court premises, on the date of the theft, were not guarded, in spite of there being four police personnel otherwise available especially for that motive.
The Principal Judge, in his report, further stated that the Police concerned did not collect footprints & fingerprints on the main door which was broken open by the miscreants nor was dog squad team called to the crime scene. Established on his report, the Principal District opined, prima facie, that inquisition ought to be handed over to an independent agency, only in which situation truth may come into light.
The HC ordered the transfer of the case of theft to the CBI, after noting that all the parties present, including the Advocate General, were in agreement without any objections made against such transfer, whatsoever.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY YAKSHU JINDAL.