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SC: CBI to Register case despite its decision to close Preliminary Investigation

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Anushka Sharma –

Published On: November 19, 2021 at 14:00 IST

The Supreme Court stated that once a Prima facie case for a Cognizable Offence is discovered in a preliminary Investigation, the CBI must file a regular case.

The Constitutional power to direct the CBI to register a regular case, despite its decision to close a preliminary Investigation, is unaffected, according to a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna, who directed the CBI to register a regular case in relation to the Illegalities in the March 2002 disinvestment of 26 percent shares in Hindustan Zinc Ltd.

On November 6, 2013, the CBI filed a preliminary inquiry based on “Confidential source Information” with regard to the HZL disinvestment between 1997 and 2003.

It had presented the Court with a self-contained note concluding the preliminary Investigation. However, on August 22, 2014, the Additional Director of the CBI suggested that the preliminary Investigation be converted into a regular case.

In light of previous decisions, the Court stated that it is the CBI’s responsibility to turn a preliminary Investigation into a regular case once a prima facie case involving the conduct of a Cognizable Criminal has been established.

“There is no bar on the Constitutional Power of this Court to direct the CBI to register a regular case, in spite of its decision to close a preliminary enquiry. Analogously, this Court has directed the Police to register an FIR, once a cognizable offence has been disclosed to it. In Shashikant v. Central Bureau of Investigation a two-judge Bench of this Court, has held that this Court has the power to direct the CBI to conduct an Investigation in exceptional cases, despite the CBI’s decision to close the preliminary Inquiry, even in the exercise of its Writ Jurisdiction,” the Bench observed.