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Cash Seizure case: HC quashes last two of three FIRs against mining baron Shekar

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Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court today quashed last two of the three FIRs lodged against mining baron Shekar Reddy and his associates after recovery of huge amounts of Rs 2000 currency notes from them barely over a month after the November 2016 demonetisation exercise by the government.
Justice S Bhasakaran quashed the two last FIRs, lodged after seizures of Rs 8 crore and Rs 1.63 crore in Rs 2000 notes in December 2016 saying they were related to the same offence involving the earlier seizure of Rs 24 crore after demonetisation.
The court, however, gave liberty to the CBI to treat the allegations made in the two subsequent FIRs as supplementary charges or merge them in the first FIR filed after the seizure of Rs 24 crore cash in Rs 2,000 denominations.
The court gave the relief allowing a petition by Reddy and four other common accused in the three cash seizure cases, noting that if subsequent FIRs are related to the same offence or a connected offence, the court had to interfere and quash the subsequent FIRs.
Justice S Bhasakaran quashed the FIRs related to the seizure of Rs 8 crore and Rs 1.63 crore cash in Rs 2,000 notes from two different premises of SRS Mining, in which Reddy was a partner.
Reddy, M Premkumar, Srinivasulu, K Rethinam and S Ramachandran were named as accused in the FIR registered on December 19, 2016 over the seizure of Rs 24 crore.
All the three seizures were made during raids conducted by the Income Tax authorities at various places after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes announced on November 8, 2016.
The petitioners contended that the two subsequent FIRs virtually had similar contents and allegations as in the first FIR with the only difference being the amount and place of seizure of the currency.
The judge in his order said the CBI's contention that the allegations mentioned in FIR were different and constitute distinct and separate transactions was absolutely untenable.
He said section 154 of CrPC does not permit registration of subsequent FIRs for the same offence or connected offence.
Further, the averments made by the respondent that the petitioners had hatched a conspiracy with unknown public servants also cannot be countenanced in the absence of any public servant or bank being identified (as an accused) so far, the judge said.

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First Published: Jun 27 2018 | 10:25 PM IST

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