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CBI probe in TN gutkha scam to ensure fair probe: SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The today upheld a Madras verdict ordering a CBI probe into the multi-crore rupee gutkha scam in which a and top state police officers and officials are alleged to be involved.

A bench headed by dismissed an appeal filed by E Sivakumar, who was an in the and at the time of the scam. He had moved the top court challenging the April 26 order.

The apex court said the has "cogitated" over all issues in detail and the probe was transferred to the CBI to ensure fair investigation in the case.

The case relates to an raid in the offices, residences and godowns of a gutkha (a tobacco product) manufacturer in in 2016. A diary seized then allegedly listed bribe payments made to various officials.

It said there was no "infirmity" in the order and said the transfer of case to CBI was necessary for instilling "confidence in the minds of the victims as well as public at large".

"We agree with the High Court that the facts of the present case and the nature of crime being investigated warrants CBI investigation...

"Suffice it to observe that we do not intend to deviate from the conclusion reached by the High Court that in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, it is but appropriate that investigation of the crime in question must be entrusted to CBI," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The top court also reiterated the high court's finding that the transfer of investigation to CBI was "no reflection on the efficiency or efficacy of the investigation done by the State Vigilance Commission".

The high court had ordered the CBI probe following a petition filed by DMK J Anbazhagan.

The government had banned the manufacture and storage of gutkha -- a However, the product was reportedly available in the market with the alleged connivance of the police officers and others.

In his appeal, had said the high court passed the order when the probe regarding the allegations of violation of the ban on gutkha and other by the Directorate of (DVAC) had commenced and was at an "advanced stage".

He also contended that the order for the probe's transfer was given without hearing any of the accused persons and without looking into the status of the investigation.

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

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 19:50 IST