Kerala HC junks cops’ FIRs against ED in gold case

2 weeks ago 27
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KOCHI: The

Kerala

high court on Friday quashed two FIRs registered by the crime branch of Kerala Police against Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials for allegedly forcing a gold-smuggling accused to name the chief minister in the racket.
Justice V G Arun passed the order on petitions filed by P Radhakrishnan, deputy director of ED Kochi zone. The court ordered police to immediately submit all records pertaining to the cases in the special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The special court can decide if an inquiry is required, it said.
Terming the order as a setback to the LDF government in Kerala, Union minister of state V Muraleedharan said it proved the state government’s claims about the probe by

Central

agencies were wrong. “The cases registered against Central agencies show how chief minister

Pinarayi Vijayan

is misusing the state police. It is the credibility of Kerala police that has been questioned,” he said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the order exposed the police-and-thief game played by the Central and state agencies. “CPM and

BJP

are trying to fool people. Both do not want a serious probe into these cases... The state government knew very well that the cases against Central agencies won’t stand legal scrutiny. It should now voluntarily withdraw the judicial investigation announced against the Central agencies,” he said.
Providing reasons for quashing the FIRs, the high court said police are barred from registering the FIRs as one of the offences in them (punishment for false evidence) falls under the list of offences for which registration of

FIR

against public servants is barred as per Section 195 of the CrPC. Such a bar is in place as these offences have a direct impact on an ongoing judicial proceeding and thus on the administration of justice, it said.
The high court also pointed out that the special court has already taken cognizance of the offences under the PMLA. Therefore, the crime branch could not have registered the FIRs and should have followed the procedure under Section 155 (1) CrPC, whereby a police officer has to refer the informant of a non-cognizable offence to the magistrate, it said.

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