The Madras High Court today asked the Tamil Nadu government whether it has challenged its single judge order quashing an FIR related to alleged distribution of cash to voters in RK Nagar bypoll in April last year.
A division bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam sought a report from the city Commissioner of Police, the Joint Commissioner (East) and the Investigation Officer on the matter by December 17.
It took a serious view of the officials not complying with its earlier direction on filing status reports on the investigation into the initial FIR.
The bench, however, refused for now the plea for reopening the case and a CBI probe, saying the police should be given an opportunity to give an explanation.
The bench was hearing petitions by M P Vairakannan and then DMK nominee Marudu Ganesh, who had initially sought registration of the FIR over alleged malpractices in the run up to the April 12 bypoll in RK Nagar assembly constituency, leading to its cancellation.
The bypoll was later held in December last year.
In the previous hearings, the court had directed the Joint Commissioner of Police to monitor the investigation in the case and sought periodical status reports.
When the matter came up for hearing Monday, the court was informed by public prosecutor A. Natarajan that the FIR had been quashed by a single judge on March 13 on a petition by P M Narasimhan despite "serious" objection by the prosecution.
Referring to a fresh plea by the counsel for the petitioners that it order re-opening of the FIR and transfer the investigation to the CBI, the bench said it was not inclined to grant the relief for the present.
"An opportunity had to be provided to the police officials to offer their explanation by way of counter affidavits. They should also explain why the name of the accused had not been mentioned in the FIR till it was quashed," the bench said.
During an earlier hearing, the court, after perusing the status report from the EC and the case diary of the police, had said the Income Tax report mentioned several names while the EC report had three particular names.
It had said none of the names were there in the FIR with the column for the names of accused was left blank.
On Monday, it directed the state government to file an affidavit giving details whether any Special Leave Petition had been filed against the order of the single judge and with regard to existence and the identity of Narasimhan, who filed the petition seeking quashing of the FIR.
The matter relates to searches and seizure of documents by the Income Tax department in various places on April 7, 2017 allegedly related to bribing of voters, which led to the cancellation of the polls then.
On a direction by the Election Commission,the Returning Officer of the constituency lodged a police complaint on April 27, based on which the FIR was registered.
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