HC refuses to grant protection or stay probe against scribe

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today refused to stay the investigation or grant protection to a journalist, who has sought quashing of a second FIR lodged against him by the CBI on charges of extorting Rs 15 crore from a Mumbai builder by portraying himself as an income tax “power broker”.

Upendra Rai has sought the interim relief of granting him protection from arrest

Justice Mukta Gupta said “I am not staying the investigation. Protection not possible. It is a quashing petition.” Such a petition is a request to a court to render a previous decision of that court or a lower judicial body null or invalid.

The court made the observation when the counsel for the scribe, Upendra Rai, sought the interim relief of granting him protection from arrest, as the court had listed his plea seeking quashing of the second FIR in July.

The CBI also filed a status report in the matter in pursuance to court’s direction yesterday.

Rai, who is in judicial custody in the first FIR, has moved the court seeking quashing of the second FIR lodged on May 5 for the alleged extortion of Rs 15 crore from a Mumbai-based builder Rs 15 crore from a Mumbai builder by claiming to be an income tax “power broker”. The CBI has claimed that the two FIRs are on different allegations.

According to the CBI, a director of Mumbai-based White Lion Real Estate Developers Private Limited, Balvinder Singh Malhotra, had filed a complaint with it against Rai.

Rai, on his part, said the second FIR was the part and parcel of the first FIR registered against him.

The court noted that the first FIR was lodged on source information and the second FIR was registered on a specific complaint of a director of the real estate company.

It said that on perusal of the statement of one of the witnesses placed by the CBI, it was apparent that the allegations in the second FIR were not the subject matter of the first.

The court listed the matter for July 13, noting that the investigation was at a very preliminary stage and directed the CBI to file a detailed status report.

The CBI had on May 3 arrested the Delhi-based scribe in the first FIR for allegedly indulging in dubious financial transactions and getting an airport access pass made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information.

Prasun Roy, chief security officer of Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, was also booked by the CBI in the case. The probe agency had carried out searches at eight locations in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi and Mumbai.

In its first FIR, the agency has alleged that going by the value of the transactions of over Rs one lakh during 2017, Rai’s accounts received Rs 79 crore while Rs 78.51 crore was debited from it during the same period.