[AIIMS Job scam] West Bengal cops, not CBI, to probe the matter: Calcutta High Court dismisses PIL

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The matter pertains to the allegation that jobs at AIIMS, Kalyani, had been given illegally to family members of MLAs belonging to one political party.

The Calcutta High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregular appointments in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Kalyani.

The bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj while allowing the state police to continue with the investigation in the matter, held,

“There is no allegation of bias or lapse in investigation in the present case which could furnish a ground to transfer the investigation to the CBI.”

Moreover, court noted that it had no doubt that the issue of compliance of Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act will be duly taken note of by the investigating agency.

A First Information Report(FIR) was lodged by one Sariful Islam in May this year alleging that leaders of BJP, some officers and the director of AIIMS, Kalyani, misused their positions to make the appointments. However, the FIR and allegation were based upon the newspaper reporting.

Consequently, a case was registered for offence under Sections 420/406/120B/34 of the IPC and Sections 7/7A/8/11/13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (the PC Act).

Meanwhile the ongoing proceedings in the case, one Sujit Chakraborty moved the high court filing a PIL seeking transfer of the investigation to the CBI.

His counsel argued that since AIIMS has been constituted under the Act of the Parliament and is financially, functionally and administratively controlled by the Central Government, therefore, the investigation should be carried out by the CBI.

However, the counsel for the state opposed the PIL and submitted that there was no legal bar to conduct the investigation by the State investigating agency in a case like this and there was no allegation of bias against the investigating agency.

He also questioned the locus of the petitioner to file the present public interest petition.

Apart from that, the counsel for the CBI raised an issue that provisions contained in Section 17(A) of the PC Act had not been complied with and that the investigation by the Sub-Inspector was in contravention of the said provision.

However, upon perusal of the Section 17 of the PC Act, court opined that an Inspector of Police authorized by the State Government by general or special order is competent to investigate a matter as the present one.

Further, court observed that none of the provisions of PC Act or Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE Act) exclude the jurisdiction of the State investigating agency to investigate the offence registered against the employees of the Central Government or employees working in an establishment owned or controlled by the Central Government, if otherwise the State investigating agency is empowered to do so.

Furthermore, referring to various provision of the AIIMS Act, 1956, Rules, DSPE Act and Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, court opined that none of the provisions from these Acts and Rules had been pointed out to show that only the CBI has the jurisdiction to investigate the offence in such a case.

Therefore, stating that the state police had placed on record the progress of investigation in the matter and there was no allegation of any bias, court opined that no ground was made out to allow the prayer made in the PIL.

Accordingly, court dismissed the petition.

Case Title: Sujit Chakraborty v.  State of West Bengal and Others