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Ranveer Singh vs. Serious Fraud Investigation Office - (High Court of Delhi) (22 Aug 2023)

Investigation report containing documents of private and confidential nature pertaining to the accused cannot be provided to any person unless a clear locus is established

MANU/DE/5693/2023

Company

The Petitioner filed an application dated 21st February, 2019 before the Special Judge under Section 212(13) of the Companies Act, 2013 to obtain a copy of the investigation report. The aforesaid application of the petition was dismissed by the Sessions Court vide order on the ground that the petitioner had no locus standi to ask for a copy of the investigation report. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed another application seeking a copy of the investigation report which was dismissed as withdrawn vide order.

The present petition has been filed by the petitioner impugning the order on the grounds that, the order dated 30th July, 2019 was passed in the absence of the Petitioner. The order dated 30th September, 2019 does not take cognizance of Section 212 (13) of the Companies Act, 2013 which permits "any person concerned" to obtain copy of the entire investigation report.

SFIO is a specialized agency investigating into allegations of serious fraud offences of a company. Section 212 of the Companies Act, 2013 is a self-contained code detailing the manner of investigation to be carried out by SFIO. The perusal of the aforesaid provisions would show that an investigation by SFIO can be ordered by the Central Government only on the basis of events/scenarios described under sub-sections (1) (a) to (d) of the Section 212 of Companies Act, 2013. Therefore, the investigation carried out by the SFIO cannot be the basis of a private complaint.

Undoubtedly, the Petitioner in the present case had filed a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court in which various orders were passed. However, the aforesaid Writ Petition was disposed of by the Supreme Court vide order dated 16th August, 2017 taking note of the fact that the government had sanctioned prosecution against the accused. After passing of the aforesaid order, the role of the petitioner came to an end. Admittedly, the Petitioner is neither a complainant, nor an accused, nor a victim.

After the impugned order dated 30th July, 2019 was passed, the petitioner was summoned by the SFIO and examined on oath during the investigation wherein he was asked to supply any information/documents held by him incriminating accused persons. However, the petitioner stated that he had no new information/documents in his possession and all the documents in his possession have already been filed with the SFIO.

The investigation report by SFIO would contain documents of private and confidential nature pertaining to the accused. These private and confidential documents cannot be provided to any person unless a clear locus is established. Therefore, the Petitioner would not be covered by the expression "any person concerned" used in sub-section (13) of the Section 212 of the Companies Act, 2013. There is no infirmity in the impugned orders passed by the Special Judge (Companies Act), which requires interference by this court. Petition dismissed.

Tags : INVESTIGATION REPORT   COPY   LOCUS STANDII  

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