The Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for registration of a fresh case against former Union Minister Lalu Prasad and others in the "land for railway job scam" on Tuesday.
The top court said that the petitioner, claiming to be a whistle-blower of the scam, can approach the appropriate forum for the relief and the plea is not maintainable under Article 32 of the Constitution, under which an individual may seek redressal for the violation of their fundamental rights.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the present petition cannot be entertained under Article 32 and he can approach the high court with his grievances.
Senior advocate CU Singh, appearing for petitioner Vankatesh Kumar Sharma, said that direction should be issued to constitute an SIT to inquire into the acts of commission and omission against the Director CBI and the director of prosecution CBI with respect to the complaint of the petitioner dated April 19, 2017.
He said that as per the CBI manual, the director has to include all the allegations in the complaint case in the FIR but the averments with regard to "land for railway jobs" were deliberately not recorded and only the second averments with respect to IRCTC scam was recorded.
"We are more liberal these days in entertaining petitions filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. Why can't you go to high court. Can't the high court decide these issues," the bench said.
Mr Singh said that there are wider aspects which relate to the CBI director.
"Sorry, we are not inclined to entertain this petition. You can easily approach the high court with your grievances," the bench said.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the centre, said that CBI director is appointed by Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India and the person so appointed has preferably not less than two years tenure.
Mr Singh countered the arguments of the Attorney General and said that he contention is not on the appointment but the action of CBI director.
"The question here is can the CBI director violate the code," he said and added that while registering the FIR, the entire complaint has to be exact verbatim.
The AG said that investigation in the IRCTC scam is over and the accused, Lalu Prasad and others, are in jail.
The bench said that even if the CBI director has violated the code, the petition can very well can be entertained by the high court and even trial court.
Mr Singh said that fraud has been committed and the complaint was not reproduced in its entirety even after lands were taken in the name of sons, daughters to given railway job.
The bench dismissed the petition but granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum for availing remedy, if any.
The petitioner had also sought direction to the CBI director to register a fresh case and investigate how the accused of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam could acquire huge movable and immovable properties beyond their known sources of income.
Mr Sharma's plea sought direction to the Centre to initiate departmental enquiry against CBI director and director of prosecution for their acts of commission, omission and violation of CBI manual.
It also sought recall grant of 'fixed tenure' to the present DCBI, ED and CVC for their failure to discharge their duties in terms of the categorical directions of this court.