HC seeks CBI stand on Maneka's plea against order for probe in graft case against her

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Friday sought the CBI response on BJP MP Maneka Gandhi's plea challenging a trial court order rejecting its closure report in a graft case against her and two others and directing further investigation in the matter.

Justice Yogesh Khanna, while issuing notice to the CBI and seeking its stand on Gandhi's plea, also put on hold the special court's February 4 order to the extent it directs the agency to place the material it has before the sanctioning authority for her prosecution.

According to the graft case lodged against the BJP leader and two others in 2006, they had allegedly sanctioned Rs 50 lakh as grant to a trust in a fraudulent manner.

The CBI told the high court during the brief hearing that the special court, on filing of closure report, has three courses of action -- accept it, reject it and order further probe or direct placing material before the sanctioning authority for sanction.

The special court cannot order further probe and also direct placing of material before sanctioning authority, the CBI counsel said and added that the agency was in a way being 'forced to file a charge sheet'.

The agency further told the high court that the special court also did not lay down any parameters for carrying out the further investigation.

The CBI counsel suggested to the high court that the special court's observations be quashed and the matter be sent back to it.

Gandhi's counsel told the high court that this is the second time the CBI has filed a closure report in the case and the agency has stated that it has no prosecutable evidence.

However, the special court rejected the CBI closure report and directed it to place the material it has before the sanctioning authority for seeking sanction for prosecution, her lawyer said.

He also told the high court that subsequent to the special court direction, CBI has placed some material before the sanctioning authority.

After hearing both sides, the high court stayed the special court order to the extent it directs CBI to place material before sanctioning authority and seek sanction, and listed Gandhi's plea for further hearing on February 8, 2021.

The special CBI court, in its February 4 order, had said it was of the prima facie opinion that there was criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct by a public servant and had directed the probe agency to investigate the case further.

CBI had first filed a closure report in the case in 2008 as well and the special court had also rejected it then and ordered further investigation.

Thereafter, it again filed a closure report which was rejected by the special court in February this year. PTI HMP SA