Srinagar, May 27: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday said that if an inquiry report into the “fraudulently sanctioning of Rs.250 Crore loan in favour of a non-existent Cooperative Society named River Jehlem Cooperative house Colony at Shivpora Srinagar” was discussed it would a ‘Pandora Box’ even as it dismissed a plea by Mohammad Shafi Dar, former chairman J&K State Cooperative Bank, seeking quashing of FIR by Anti-Corruption Bureau in this regard.
“The report of Enquiry Officer (Deputy Registrar (Counsel) Cooperative Societies J&K) dated 5th February 2020 is self-explanatory and speaks of voluminous, and if discussed here would open a pandora box for discourse, discussion and threadbare examination and trial, which is the exclusive domain of Investigating Agency and Trial Court, and not that of this Court in exercise of inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C,” a bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in a judgment on Dar’s plea, five days after reserving it for orders.
Dar gad sought quashing of the FIR (04 of 2020 dated 8 March 2020, lodged by ACB) by urging the top court of the J&K and Ladakh to exercise its inherent powers stemming from the provisions of Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He had also sought direction to the ACB to restrain from interfering with the management of J&K Cooperative Bank or “harass” him.
In his plea, Dar had submitted that River Jehlum Cooperative Housing Building Society Limited Srinagar approached the Bank for grant of loan for converting land measuring 257 Kanals 18 Marlas, situated at Shivpora, Srinagar, into a Satellite Township for Kashmiri Pandits.
He said a representation was moved by the Society before the Bank in January 2018. The Bank proceeded slowly, wanting to know status of land before taking any action on representation of Society, he said.
The case of the Society was placed before Board of Director of the Bank and in its meeting held on 21st March last year, the Board of Directors sanctioned the loan in favour of the Society and was also approved by General Body on 8th September 2018.
“Society was asked to execute required documents and accordingly it was being monitored by the Committee constituted and Kashmiri Pandits executed a Power of Attorney in favour of Hilal Ahmad Mir – Chairman of the Society, authorising him to transfer the land and raise finances in lieu of thereof and execute any document for creating lien in favour of Bank over the landed property,” he said.
He said some locals, who had an eye on the land, made complaints under “false” pretexts before all authorities and also filed two suits against land owners and the Society, who tried their best to restrain the Society from converting the land into Satellite Township while the Society as well as the Bank was doing their best to help protect interests of Kashmiri Pandits.
He claimed that the whole process was conducted as per law and rules and that he has not committed any wrong whatsoever.
After hearing both the sides and in view of the Supreme Court’s judgment calling for use of power of quashing a criminal proceeding sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases, the High Court dismissed Dar’s plea as bereft of any merit.
“The petitioner (Dar) fails to make out a case for exercise of inherent powers under Section 482 Cr. P.C. to quash the FIR. The case is still under investigation and concerned agency is in the process of collecting evidence,” the court said, adding, “The investigation is necessary and the same cannot be stopped, at his stage, in the proceedings under Section 482 Cr.P.C. As a sequel thereof, instant petition is dismissed.”
The chairman of the Society (JCHBS) Hilal Ahmad Hilal of Magarmal Bagh Srinagar was arrested by the ACB on May 18. (GNS)