The apex court expressed shock at Amicus Curiae Vijay Hansaria's submissions that a trial in a case against a legislator was expected to be completed by 2030, noting that while everyone asks for a CBI probe but where is the manpower to conduct it.
Expressing concern over the delay in completion of investigations against MPs and MLAs, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the investigative agencies — the CBI and Enforcement Directorate — to find ways to increase their manpower to ensure time-bound completion of probes.
A Bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, while taking note of the status report submitted by the Centre on the pending cases against legislators, observed that its directions to expedite trial in criminal cases against MPs and MLAs should not be understood as a mandate to give out-of-turn hearing of criminal cases against them.
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The apex court expressed shock at Amicus Curiae Vijay Hansaria’s submissions that a trial in a case against a legislator was expected to be completed by 2030, noting that while everyone asks for a CBI probe but where is the manpower to conduct it.
It asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to have a discussions with directors of CBI and ED to find out if they require additional manpower to complete investigation in a time bound manner.
“We are sorry to say that the report is inconclusive. There is no reason for not filing chargesheet for 10-15 years, and also for not filing anything,” the judges said while referring to a report filed by amicus curiae on status of pending cases against MPs/MLAs by CBI and ED.
It also said that in ED cases, properties worth crores are attached, but no chargesheet is filed. “Simply attaching the property does not serve the purpose,” the bench said, adding that it seems easy to ask for expeditious trial of cases, but there’s also a dearth of judges to hear them.
The government, in its status report, submitted that 51 MPs and 71 MLAs or MLCs were booked under the money laundering laws, 151 cases of legislators were pending before Special CBI courts with the earliest dating to 2012 and five cases are before the National Investigation Agency. “Cases range from 8 to 10 years. 58 cases are punishable with death or life imprisonment. The oldest case is from 2000. 37 cases of CBI are still under investigation,” the report stated.
The apex court had on August 10 asked the ED and the CBI to submit a status report on the cases filed and investigation undertaken in cases against MPs and MLAs while hearing a PIL to fast-track disposal of criminal cases against current and former lawmakers.
It also reiterated that though there was nothing wrong in withdrawing cases of malicious prosecution against MPs and MLAs, but states need to take the consent of respective High Courts before doing so.