The Supreme Court has said that a person who has not been named as an accused in an FIR cannot seek quashing of proceedings concerning another person in a criminal case.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar made the remarks while hearing a plea seeking quashing of an FIR in the UPPCL Provident Fund investment scam registered at Hazratganj police station of Lucknow, which was initially probed by Uttar Pradesh Police but was later transferred to the CBI.
The bench said, “It is not in dispute that the petitioners have not been named as accused in the said crime. If the petitioners have not been named as accused in the said crime, the question of quashing the stated FIR or the case, now under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arising from the said crime, does not arise as the petitioners will have no locus to seek such a relief.” It added, “In other words, the petitioners not being named as accused in the said crime or the case now registered by the CBI on the basis of the said crime cannot be permitted to ask for quashing of the proceedings concerning some other persons (accused).” The bench said in its recent order that the court does not intend to examine the relief sought by Hukum Chand Garg and others and added that they can take recourse to appropriate remedy as and when they are named by the investigating agency (CBI) in connection with the stated offence, now under investigation.
The bench, however, added that the investigating officer of the CBI shall give 48 hours’ advance notice to the petitioners before proceeding against them so as to enable them to take recourse to appropriate remedy, as may be advised.
It said all contentions available to both sides are left open and clarified that this order is in the peculiar facts of the present case and the response filed by the respondents in this petition.
The bench noted that on an earlier occasion, the court had noticed that a lookout notice was issued against the petitioners.
“It is now clarified that the said lookout notice was issued by the local police (UP Police) investigating the crime at that time, which notice has lapsed with the passage of time,” the bench said.
The top court added that in that sense, the writ petitions filed by the petitioners to challenge the lookout notice would also not survive for consideration and it can be pointed out to the high court where the petition is pending.
The case in question is popularly called the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) Provident fund investment scam and it was registered at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow and probed by Uttar Pradesh Police.
The CBI took over the investigation on March 5, 2020. Among those named were Praveen Kumar Gupta, the then secretary of UP Power Sector Employees’ Trust, and Sudhanshu Dwivedi, the then director (finance) of the UPPCL.
The prime allegations were that money was invested in private sector companies in a wholly illegal and malafide manner to earn huge illegal commissions in violation of the provisions of the Companies Act, Employees Provident Fund and provisions of the Indian Trust Act, 1882.