New Delhi: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on Friday submitted before Delhi High Court that under Section 17A of Prevention of corruption Act, an FIR cannot be registered against a serving public officer unless there is a sanction from the competent authority.
The bench headed by Justice Najmi Waziri asked Senior Advocate Amarendra Sharan appearing for Rakesh Asthana, if any communication was sent from the CBI to the government in connection with the case?
“Section 17A is a mandatory provision. It provides an outer time limit for officers to respond. This is a clear embargo on registering cases against public servants,” he responded, adding, “this section was given a deliberate go bye even though CVC had cautioned against it.”
“The offence came to light on October 4 when Satish Babu Sana’s statement under Section 164 of CrPC was recorded, and this section 17A had come into force with effect from September 1,” he argued.
“The bar of Section 17A cannot be circumvented and any action bypassing Section 17A will be grossly illegal. Please ask respondents to show the case diary where the reason has been noted as to why was Section 17A not taken into account in this case,” the counsel urged before the bench.
Appearing for Superintendent of Police who registered the FIR, the Senior Counsel responded: “Solicitor General P Narsimhan had given a written advice to CBI on registration of the FIR against Asthana and that must be placed before the court.”
However, Additional Solicitor General, Vikramjit Banerjee appearing for the CBI has submitted before the Court that all the allegations against Asthana were not in the course of discharging his duties. Hence there is no question of being barred by Section 17A of PC Act, News18 reports.
MA Niyazi appearing for CBI joint director AK Sharma argued that section 17A will not be a bar in this case because allegations levelled against Asthana were not in the course of “recommendations” or “directions issued by him” in his official capacity.