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Posted at: Jan 12, 2017, 1:55 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2017, 2:41 PM (IST)SAHARA DIARIES

SC: No probe against PM

Those named in PAPERS

  • BJP: LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Ravi Shankar Prasad
  • SP: Mulayam Singh Yadav
  • BSP: Mayawati
  • RJD: Lalu Prasad Yadav
  • Congress: Salman Khurshid, Sheila Dikshit
  • NC: Farooq Abdullah

What apex court said...

  • Material provided by the petitioner in the form ofrandom papers containing computer and diary entries, excel sheets and emails inadmissible under law
  • No case is made out to direct probe against political functionaries, etc, and the applications are found to be meritless and dismissed
SC: No probe against PM

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 11

In a major relief to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea for a probe into allegations of payoffs to him by the Sahara and Aditya Birla groups of companies ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“No democracy can survive if investigations are readily set in motion against important constitutional functionaries without there being cogent material on record,” a Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy ruled.

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The court made the remark in a detailed order passed after hearing day-long arguments by senior counsel Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan for the PIL petitioner, NGO Common Cause, and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for the Centre.

“The process of law can be abused very easily to achieve ulterior goals” if such pleas were allowed, the Bench pointed out. The material provided by the petitioner in the form of random papers

containing computer and diary entries, excel sheets and emails could not form the basis for registration of an FIR as these were inadmissible evidence in law.

Some of the material contained information about payoffs in crores to Modi and other leaders of various parties by the two groups, but there was nothing to show that money was actually paid to any one of them, the Bench held.

Among others whose names figured in these documents were BJP’s LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Ravi Shankar Prasad, SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Sheila Dikshit and NC leader Farooq Abdullah.

The Bhushans cited the Lalita Kumari case in which a five-member Constitution Bench of the SC had ruled that an FIR was a must on all complaints pertaining to commission of cognisable offence without going into the evidentiary value.

The SC pointed out that the Income Tax Settlement Commission had also given its conclusion that the documents seized by the CBI and the Income Tax Department during raids on the Sahara group were not genuine.

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