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Sahara-Birla papers: NGO files fresh affidavit in SC seeking probe into allegations

‘Common Cause’, an NGO, filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking a court- monitored SIT investigation into the raids on two business houses in 2013-14 after which bribery allegations have been made against against politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

‘Common Cause’, which has repeatedly been asked by the court to come up with credible material in support of its bribery allegations, today filed several documents, including some e-mails, as annexures to its affidavit.

It claimed that the fresh material pertained to CBI raid on Aditya-Birla Group office and the Income Tax raid on the premises of Sahara group and subsequent investigations.

A bench headed by by Justice Khehar had last month questioned the NGO and its lawyer Prashant Bhushan whether aspersions could be cast against the prime minister without placing “sufficient”, “firm” and “clear” materials.

It had also said that the PIL was based on “zero material” and was only making “insinuations” and asked Bhushan to come out with credible material for the court to consider.

The NGO’s additional affidavit today said, “The following facts make out a clear case: 1) Raids were conducted by the CBI on the Birla Group and by the Income Tax Department on the Sahara Group, 2) Huge unaccounted amounts of cash was recovered in the raids, 3) Diaries, notebook, hand written papers, computer documents were recovered in the raid, 4) The information gathered shows bribery of politicians and civil servants.”

The court, on December 16, had also ticked off Bhushan, calling as “unreasonable” and the “most unfair” the plea seeking recusal of Justice J S Khehar from hearing the matter on the ground that his file for elevation as the CJI was then pending with the government. It has now posted the matter for hearing on January 11.

The NGO, in its fresh affidavit, has referred to a Constitution Bench judgement in the Lalita Kumari case and said “it is a settled law that the registration of an FIR is mandatory when the information discloses a cognizable offences” and the circumstances in the matter make out a “more than adequate case for directing a credible and independent investigation”.

Referring to the apex court’s direction in the Jain Hawala case, it said that the present case stands on a “much better footing” because there has been seizure of huge money in raids.

The court had on December 14 made it clear that it is not going to entertain the plea of the NGO unless it comes out with firm and relevant material.