‘Fake cases’ against businessmen in south Kashmir courts | HC orders further probe by Crime Branch

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Srinagar, Aug 2: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Wednesday ordered Crime Branch Kashmir to carry further investigation in a case related to extortion of money by institution of fake complaints against high-profile businessmen in different courts of Anantnag and Kulgam.

One Vikram Bhardwaj, a New Delhi based businessman had petitioned court and sought court’s intervention to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be headed by a Police officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police to carry on and monitor the investigation of the case (FIR No 69/2019).

In the alternative, he sought directions for handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), New Delhi in view of the seriousness of the offence and the expertise available with them for conducting such investigations.

He contended that the case had not been investigated by the SIT in a manner warranted under law.

Rejecting demand for the probe by CBI, a bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar noted that investigating agency, Police, had done fairly a good job in investigating most of the aspects of the matter and the investigation had already been handed over to a specialised agency like Economic Offences Wing of Crime Branch, Kashmir.

The court underscored that no such glaring and exceptional circumstances had been brought to the notice of it that would warrant transfer of investigation to any other agency.

“Therefore, prayer of the counsel for the petitioner in this regard merits to be rejected,” the court said and rejected the plea for the CBI probe.

“The Economic Offences Wing of Crime Branch, Kashmir, should undertake further investigation of the case with regard to the role of the complainants, plaintiffs, and lawyers who had filed false complaints and cases before various courts and on the basis of the material that may be collected during investigation,” the court said.

“Appropriate action be taken against those found to be actively involved with the main accused, namely, Ajay Agarwal and Pankaj Jain,” it said.

The court also ordered that investigation as regards to offence under Section 209 of RPC (dishonestly making false claim in court) be taken to its logical conclusion.

“If found established, the material collected during investigation will be placed before the respective courts for taking further action in the matter in accordance with law,” it said.

The case pertains to obtaining of non-bailable warrants and their subsequent use for extracting money by accused from their ‘targets’.

According to the series of status reports filed by Police, pursuant to the directions passed by court from time to time, the investigation in the case (FIR No 69/2019 of Police Station Anantnag) was initially conducted by Special Investigation Team headed by DySP Headquarters Anantnag.

Police said that a challan had been produced against the two accused Ajay Kumar Agarwal and Pankaj Jain before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Anantnag, on September 14, 2021.

In one of the status reports, the Police said that petitioner (Vikram Bhardwaj) again approached the DIG, Anantnag, for re-investigation of the case and on the instructions of the DIG, a SIT headed by DySP Headquarter, Anantnag, was constituted on February 13, 2022, and further investigation of the case in terms of Section 173(8) of CrPC was commenced. During further investigation of the case, it was transferred to the Crime Branch, Kashmir in terms of PHQ order dated May 12, 2022.

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