High Court seeks explanation for quashing of cash-for-votes case

R.K. Nagar bypoll: single judge struck down FIR in March
A Division Bench of the Madras High Court expressed surprise on Monday when it heard that a single judge of the court had on March 13 quashed an FIR lodged in connection with the alleged bribing of voters during the originally scheduled by-election to the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar (R.K. Nagar) Assembly constituency, which was rescinded by the Election Commission (EC) in April.
Curiously the FIR had been quashed without the knowledge of the EC, at whose instance the case was booked. Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam called for an explanation from S. Manoharan, former Joint Commissioner of Police, Chennai city, and incumbent officer T.S. Anbu as to how the case got quashed and why they had not filed any status report on the investigation before the Bench. They also directed the Income Tax Department to explain by December 17 the action taken pursuant to seizure of incriminating materials during searches conducted at the premises of Health Mini The Division Bench came to know of the single judge’s order only when a batch of four writ petitions, including one filed by DMK candidate N. Maruthu Ganesh, last year got listed for hearing on Monday. All four petitioners had insisted on initiating penal action against AIADMK ministers [who had campaigned for T.T.V. Dhinakaran then] to whom a whopping Rs. 89.65 crore was allegedly handed for bribing voters of the constituency. On perusing the records during the afternoon session, the judges found that the Abiramapuram police had not named anyone as the accused in the FIR, though the complaint lodged by the Returning Officer on April 21, 2017 had specific reference to incriminating documents having been seized by Income Tax officials from the residence of the Health Minister and two other public servants in connection with distribution of money. Further, the petition before Justice M.S. Ramesh had been filed by Tiruttani MLA P.M. Narasimhan, whose name was not found either in the FIR or in any document in the case diary maintained by the police. It also came to light that the MLA had urged the court to quash the FIR by including the Inspector of the Abiramapuram police station alone as a respondent, and not the Returning Officer who was the complainant. The Inspector, on his part, did not file any counter affidavit to the quash petition. He did not question the locus standi of the petitioner. The case was argued on merits and hence, the judge held that documents relied upon by the police did not make out a case under Section 171B (bribing voters) of the Indian Penal Code.
Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/court-seeks-explanation-for-quashing-of-cash-for-votes-case/article25658925.ece

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