LIFE Mission Case : Supreme Court Issues Notice On Petition Challenging CBI Investigation

first_imgTop StoriesLIFE Mission Case : Supreme Court Issues Notice On Petition Challenging CBI Investigation LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK25 Jan 2021 12:47 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a petition filed by the CEO of the LIFE Mission Project of the Kerala Government challenging the Kerala High Court judgment which dismissed the petitions challenging the CBI investigation into corruption allegations and FCRA violations in relation to receipt of foreign donations for constructions houses for the flood victims in the state.A…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a petition filed by the CEO of the LIFE Mission Project of the Kerala Government challenging the Kerala High Court judgment which dismissed the petitions challenging the CBI investigation into corruption allegations and FCRA violations in relation to receipt of foreign donations for constructions houses for the flood victims in the state.A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai issued notice to the Union Government and the Central Bureau of Investigation, returnable within four weeks.Senior Advocate K V Vishwanathan, appearing for the LIFE Mission CEO, argued that government projects have exemption under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. In any case, the LIFE Mission CEO has not received any amounts from the UAE Red Crescent for the project, and the donations were received by the private contractors who were entrusted with the construction work, he submitted. Therefore, the CBI FIR had no basis.Vishwanathan further argued that the CBI investigation in the instant case was contrary to the spirit of federalism. The CBI needs either the sanction of the state government or an order from the High Court to investigate a crime within a state. Here, under the pretext of enquiry under FCRA, the CBI is seeking to undertake a roving investigation into baseless allegations of corruption, with political motivations, argued the senior counsel.”If there is corruption, the vigilance will investigate. If there is cheating, it is for the state police to investigate”, he said. A case under FCRA – which is not applicable to the government agency- cannot be converted into a corruption case to probe into a state’s project, he submitted.He highlighted that the LIFE Mission project was to help people to tide over the heavy losses caused by floods.High Court’s dismissalIt was on January 12 that the the Kerala High Court  dismissed the petitions filed by the CEO of Life Mission Project of Kerala Government and Santhosh Eappen, the MD of the contractor company, challenging the CBI investigation into the case related to alleged corruption and FCRA violations.The HC observed that the modus operandi of the case and the nature of allegations suggested the involvement of higher officials of the government.The Court however held that the criminal liability of the non-political actors in the case cannot be extended to the political executive of the State, just because the crime was done while executing a policy decision of the government.The court explained in the order that the executive of the State consists of the political executive (ministers) and non-political executive(the civil servants). The non-political executive implements the policy decisions taken by the political executive. If criminal misdeeds are done by the non-political executive while implementing a policy decision of the political executive, such criminal liability cannot be extended to the political executive just because the latter took the policy decision.A single bench of Justice P Somarajan observed in the order :”In the instant case, all these mischiefs were done during the implementation of the LIFE mission by permanent members of non-political executive attached to the IAS along with Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and other accused. The mere fact that policy decision was taken by the CM and the ministers or the legislature may not be itself a sufficient ground to extend criminal liability for the wrong done by non -political actors and their allies to the political executive. Therefore criminal liability cannot be extended to political executive merely because they took a policy decision”.On October 13 last year, a bench of Justice V G Arun had passed a stay order in the petition filed by U V Jose, CEO of the LIFE Mission Project, seeking to quash the FIR registered by the central agency alleging violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act over the receipt of foreign contributions from the United Arab Emirates for the construction of housing units for the flood victims at a government plot in the Thrissur district. The bench had also considered a petition filed by Santhosh Eappen, the Managing Director of Unitac Ltd, the private builder, who was arrayed as first accused in the CBI FIR.LIFE(Livelihood, Inclusion and Financial Empowerment) Mission’ is a housing project mooted by the Kerala Government for the benefit of the homeless.The issue relates to the project for the construction of 140 housing units in Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district. As per the application filed by the CEO in the HC, in 2019, the ‘Red Crescent Authority’ of the United Arab Emirates offered to sponsor the project and accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into that year itself. As per the MoU, the sponsor was to execute the project through independent contractors.Alleging that foreign contributions to the tune of 10 Lakh Arab Emirates Dirham were transferred to the private contractors – Unitac Ltd and Sane Ventures – in violation of FCRA norms, a legislator belonging to the Congress party, Anil Akkara, filed a complaint before the CBI on September 20.Next Storylast_img

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