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Delhi HC reserves order on whether to seek response from EOW on plea by Malvinder Singh

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The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved order on whether to seek a response from the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police on a plea filed by Malvinder Mohan Singh, seeking quashing of FIR registered by the EOW saying it lacks jurisdiction to register the case.

Justice Brijesh Sethi has reserved the order after hearing arguments from all the parties in the case.

Malvinder Singh had approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR, stating that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is already conducting investigations. He claimed he could only be tried under the Companies Act by the SFIO.

Appearing for Singh, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said: "The plea raises the question of lack of jurisdiction. The writ was filed some days ago. It raises the issue of jurisdiction. It's not related to something that happened last night."

Singhvi had stated that Section 212 of the Companies Act "clearly bars the investigation under Companies Act by any other agency other than SFIO."

"The Centre has assigned the case to SFIO for investigation. In case SFIO has been investigating any offence under the Companies Act, all other authorities/agencies having any information shall provide such information to SFIO," he had stated.

EOW's case against the applicant is under Sections 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). SFIO, which investigates cases of serious frauds, is also empowered to investigate charges under CrPC while investigating cases of serious financial frauds, he had said and added that parallel investigation by EOW would violate protection from duplication as enshrined under Article 20 of Constitution.

EOW stated that Singh was arrested yesterday. This matter is not appropriate to be taken up at this time and maybe adjourned for a few weeks, added the EOW.

Singhvi said that in the FIR lodged by the EOW, it has acknowledged the investigation being conducted by the SFIO.

"How can two proceedings go simultaneously? Both the complaints refer to the same company, the same transactions. For species of offences that partake with fraud, SFIO is made the only agency. How can the EOW then continue with the investigation? If SFIO investigating, the EOW can't jump the gun," he had said.

Singhvi had sought notice to be issued to the EOW or grant of stay on the proceedings initiated by the EOW.

Appearing for EOW, advocate Avi Singh had said, "EOW is investigating companies which are different from the ones notified by the Centre to be investigated by SFIO. EOW is investigating different companies, promoters are the same. SFIO has been given specific allegations and companies to investigate."

EOW's investigation is also being done under a different Act. EOW is not investigating any offences under Companies Act but offences under IPC, EOW had stated.

SFIO cannot investigate offences under IPC. Fraud by a company is an offence separate from criminal conspiracy and other offences under IPC," it added.

EOW further mentioned that they are at the stage of the initial and crucial investigation.

The Supreme Court has held that an accused can't choose its investigating agency, it stated.

"Our investigation is relying on RBI forensic report that Rs 1260 crore has been diverted from Religare," added the EOW.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 11 2019. 17:11 IST