In a breather for Maharashtra Congress leader Kripashankar Singh, the Supreme Court Tuesday stayed a Bombay High Court order attaching movable and immovable properties belonging to him and his family members in an illegal assets case.
An apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Anil R. Dave directed Kripashankar Singh and his family members to file affidavits stating that they would not in any way transfer or deal in properties attached by their order.
The court gave Kripashankar Singh and his family members three days’ time to file affidavits.
The judges retained the high court direction asking Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik to carry out independent investigation into the case.
They said that the police commissioner would file a report on his investigation before it in a sealed cover.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade told the court that the independent investigation currently going on should be allowed to continue.
He told the court that there was enough evidence with police of Kripashankar Singh and his family members possessing disproportionate assets.
Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Sanjay Dinanath Tiwari who moved the high court against Kripashankar Singh, wondered how the Congress leader, who had no income except as a minister and a legislator, had amassed such huge wealth.
Kripashanker Singh’s family members include his wife Malti Devi Singh, son Narendra Kumar Mohan Singh, daughter-in-law Ankita Narendra Mohan Singh, daughter Sunita Vijay Pratap Singh and son-in-law Vijay Kumar Vijay Pratap Singh.
The apex court stayed a part of the high court order which said that the investigation would be based on the first information report and the March 30, 2011 report of the anti-corruption bureau.
The court modified the high court direction which said that Mumbai police commissioner “shall obtain the statutory sanction for prosecution” of Kripashankar Singh from the sanctioning authority.
The judges said that it was for the investigating officer to approach the sanctioning authority for initiating prosecution proceedings against him.
Appearing for Kripashankar Singh, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi assailed the high court verdict saying that it could not have directed seizure and attachment of his client’s properties.
Rohtagi said that the high court had become an ally in a political fight that was being fought in courts.
While seeking a stay on the high court order attaching properties of Kripashankar Singh and his family members, Rohtagi told the apex court that he was ready to give an undertaking that nothing would be done to alienate or transfer these properties and deal in them.
Senior counsel K. Prasaran, appearing for Kripashankar Singh’s daughter Sunita Vijay Singh, told the court that the ”corruption was every where. But the nature of harm being caused to the society could not be a ground for the high court to bypass the established procedure under the criminal law”.