New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by former Indian cricketers Kirti Azad and Bishan Singh Bedi demanding a court-monitored investigation by the CBI into alleged criminal offence committed by DDCA officials.
Justice Manmohan refused to entertain the plea, saying the petition was “premature” while noting that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had already initiated preliminary enquiry on October 23, 2015.
“The court is of the view that present writ petition is premature as preliminary enquiry has already been registered,” the court said, adding that court-monitored probe can not be ordered “just because union minister was named in the petition”.
Azad, a suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, and Bedi had also sought appointment of an independent administrator to look into alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
They had impleaded the central and state governments, the CBI and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) besides all current and former DDCA officials, including its former president, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Refusing to entertain the plea as CBI initiated investigation in October, the court said: “This court is also of the view that SIT as well as court-monitored investigation should take place in rarest of rare cases and not in every normal matter or just because union minister is named in writ petition.”
It further directed CBI to “investigate all aspects of matter in accordance with law”.
Appearing for Bedi, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, told the court that there is a need of court-monitored probe as it’s apprehended that CBI will not be able to conduct a free and fair investigation of allegations made against DDCA, especially since Arun Jaitley (during whose tenure as president most of the allegations pertain to) is presently a senior cabinet minister in the union council of ministers.
Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for CBI, opposed the plea saying the agency is seized of the matter and it will bring the probe to conclusion.
The CBI had asked for some documents from DDCA and other connected bodies and some of the witness have also been examined, the ASG told the court.
“The CBI is an independent agency. This petition is premature. Merely on the allegations, they (petitioners) want investigation should be court-monitored. There is no need of court-monitored probe. Petitions can’t be used to settle scores,” Kaul added.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appearing for the central government also opposed the plea saying it has given land to other sports bodies at concessional rates and petitioners have not challenged the policy on which allotment has been made.
The plea was filed by Azad, Bedi, Maninder Singh, Dronacharya awardee cricket coach Gurcharan Singh and two others, and had sought direction to the central government to cancel the privileges like subsidised land that have been extended to DDCA and to ensure that no loss is caused to exchequer.