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Baljit Singh and Ors. Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation and Ors. - (High Court of Jammu and Kashmir) (01 Aug 2018)

FIR cannot be quashed at the threshold itself without allowing the investigation to proceed



In present petition, the Petitioners crave the indulgence of present Court in quashing the FIR registered against them at Police Station. The complaint pertains to the misappropriation of rice & wheat stocks at PEG (Private Entrepreneur Guarantee) Store, Baramulla, valued at over 14 Crores.

The Petitioners have challenged the FIR, on the grounds that, the Petitioners are proprietors of the sole proprietorship concern against whom the impugned FIR has been registered by the CBI. The proprietorships concerns are not legal entities or juridical persons against whom prosecution can be launched. The proprietorship is doli incapax and thus can neither be prosecuted nor punished under any statute. The inference that can be drawn from the allegations contained in the FIR is that the alleged commission of the breach of trust and misappropriation has taken place beyond the territorial jurisdiction of State of Jammu and Kashmir, that is, in the State of Punjab. Such offences have no territorial nexus vis-à-vis the penal offences provided under Ranbir Penal Code and their prosecution cannot be countenanced within the State of J & K. The FIR has been registered on the basis of a complaint directly transmitted by the Zonal Office Food Corporation of India, Noida, UP, in the absence of a valid sanction.

As per record, a huge amount of money spreading over 14.74 Crores has been misappropriated as a corollary to which the Food Corporation of India is said to have suffered loss in an equivalent amount of money. The Petitioners have challenged the vires of the FIR registered against them on various counts which can be decided and determined on the culmination of the investigation of the case also for who knows what will be the fate of the investigation of the case and in which direction it will land. The allegations levelled against the Petitioners and others including the officers/officials of the FCI as is palpable from the FIR appear to be serious in nature and the mandate of law justifies that the matter should be investigated into its entirety without aborting it midway. It is only after the conclusion of the investigation of the case that a definite opinion can be framed in light of the grounds agitated and urged by the Petitioners in this petition. It will be too early in the day to comment as to which offence is and which is not made out in the case.

The food grains are alleged to have been loaded in Scooters, Tractors, HGV and Motor Cycles. It provides the mode and manner in which the documents have been allegedly fudged and forged to obtain undue pecuniary gains. The investigation of the case cannot be scuttled, stalled and thwarted at this stage of the initial probe in the matter of the embezzlement of a huge amount of money. The FIR in a case like the present one cannot be quashed promptly without allowing the CBI to make an appropriate investigation of the case. The Supreme Court has in a catena of judicial pronouncements held that the FIR cannot be quashed at the threshold itself without allowing the investigation to proceed. Petition dismissed.


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