The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the re-filed frivolous plea of Fixer-cum-Editor Upendra Rai, currently lodged in Tihar jail seeking to restrain Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer Rajeshwar Singh from conducting a probe against him in a graft case. The bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the cases lodged against Rai have nothing to do with the 2G case pending before it and his plea is not maintainable in the present set of proceedings.
“We are dismissing it as not maintainable. It is not the subject matter of the present proceedings,” the bench said. Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Rai, said since he had made certain allegations against Singh, the ED, and the CBI has lodged cases against him. Raju Ramachandran has, in the past, also represented former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti’s associates like Ravi Vishwanath on a Look Out Circular issued in connection with Aircel-Maxis and INX Media related cases. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Rajeshwar Singh, said identical allegations are being made time and again and court has often protected the official from such averments. “From 2011, these frivolous allegations are raked up again and again. These can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Rohatgi said cases against Rai are related to corruption and CBI has allegedly found Rs.100 crores in bank accounts which is the money made out of extortion. “These all are separate cases lodged against you (Rai). It has nothing to do with the 2G case. We are concerned with the 2G only. It will be better if you file a separate petition to challenge the proceedings against you,” the bench told Rai.
Earlier, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had opposed Rai’s plea to restrain Rajeshwar Singh from probing him. Swamy had said that the Aircel-Maxis case was brought before the court through his petition and Rai in his plea had made some “scurrilous remarks” against ED officer Singh, who is probing the case. He had also alleged that it was an attempt to delay the completion of the probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal case. Swamy also argued that heavy cost may be imposed on these kinds of frivolous petitions.
Swamy pointed out the “outrageous” things the petition terming him as the man who controls CBI. “In this petition, I am described as a senior investigator of ED and at some areas as the person controlling ED. How can a senior advocate like Raju Ramachandran make this kind of petition,” he said. Hearing this Raju Ramachandran said, “I am withdrawing these portions.” Swamy reiterated that heavy cost may be put on Upendra Rai for making these kinds of petitions. Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan observed that Rai has wasted time of the court. “We have wasted 30 minutes on this,” said the Bench.
Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is a petitioner in 2G cases also sought dismissal of such frivolous petition. Central Government’s counsels ASGs Tushar Mehta, Vikramjit Banerjee and Aman Lekhi said that this was a totally frivolous petition, seeking dismissal.
Earlier Upendra Rai had withdrawn his petition and then claimed that he was not aware of the fact that his earlier advocate had withdrawn from the case. “These kinds of tactics would not be entertained and must dismiss the petition with a heavy cost,” said Central Government’s lawyers.
Upendra Rai was arrested by the CBI on May 3 for indulging in dubious financial transactions, getting an airport access pass made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information, alleged extortion and manipulation of an Income Tax Department case against a Mumbai-bound businessman. The ED had registered a money laundering case against him based on the CBI First Information Report (FIR).
In its FIR, the CBI has alleged that going by the value of transactions of over Rs one lakh each during 2017, Rai’s accounts received Rs.79 crores while Rs.78.51 crores were debited from it during the same period.
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