Published On: Sat, Aug 15th, 2020

C’garh: HC gives pre-arrest bail to two IAS officers

Bilaspur: The Chhattisgarh High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to IAS officers Anil Tuteja and Alok Shukla in a money laundering case related to the Chhattisgarh Civil Supply Corporation scam.

IAS officer Alok Shukla

Justice Arvind Singh Chandel had reserved the order on separate pre-arrest bail pleas of Shukla and Tuteja on July 14. He passed the order on Friday, their lawyers Avi Singh and Aayush Bhatia said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had lodged an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in January last year.

It was based on the FIR and charge sheet filed by the Chhattisgarh police’s economic offences wing (EOW) and the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in the civil supply scam.

Tuteja and Shukla were named as accused in the ED’s case, so the duo sought anticipatory bail.

In 2015, the ACB and EOW raided properties of officials of the Chhattisgarh State Civil Supply Corporation (CSCSC) and registered a case against 28 people.

Shukla, then Food Secretary, and Tuteja, then managing director of the corporation, were not made accused initially but were named in a supplementary charge sheet filed in December 2018, the lawyers said.

The case was related to the supply of substandard rice under the Public Distribution System and payment of money to certain officials.

During the hearing on anticipatory bail pleas last month in the HC, the petitioners’ lawyers argued that no cash was recovered from their clients’ properties.

The two had been granted anticipatory bail by the HC last year in the ACB/EOW case, the lawyers pointed out.

The lawyers also said that while the ECIR was registered by the ED at its sub-zonal office in Raipur, the summons were issued by the ED Delhi office.

This was “political vendetta”, they alleged.

Assistant Solicitor General B Gopa Kumar, appearing for the ED, opposed the anticipatory bail applications, claiming that the case involves laundering of huge amounts of money.

But the HC granted anticipatory bail, noting that “charge-sheet has already been filed and no recovery was made from any of the Applicants (Shukla and Tuteja)” and no departmental proceeding has been initiated.

“The ECIR case was registered against them last year and notice was issued to them for the first time in the case in March this year. The delay in issuance of notice has not been explained,” the court said.

Shukla is now Principal Secretary, education department while Tuteja as Director of Commerce and Industries department.

PTI

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