SC; Can CBI Probe All 76 FIRs In Pearl Scam? – Times of India – 10-Nov-2016
November 10, 2016 - Uncategorized
The Supreme Court asked the CBI on Wednesday to examine whether it could investigate all 76 FIRs lodged against Nirmal Singh Bhangoo-headed Pearl group of companies in different states in connection with a Rs 45,000 crore land development scam.
One of the arrested directors of Pearl group had requested amalgamation of all the 76 FIRs registered. Appearing for him, senior advocate Anil Divan told a bench of Justice A R Dave and Justice A M Khanwilkar that his client was being taken into custodial remand by police in different states from time to time for investigation. “It would be better if the FIRs are amalgamated and its probe entrusted to one agency,” he said.
CBI’s counsel R Balasubramaniam said the agency was investigating only the case relating to Delhi. “Cases lodged by state police relate to cases of cheating committed by the group and its officials in those places. It would be a Herculean task for the CBI, in terms of both manpower and infrastructure, to take up investigations into all 76 cases,” he said.
The bench said, “We are not suggesting amalgamation of the cases. As per our February 2 order, the CBI was to investigate the alleged fraud committed by the Pearl group. Let the CBI examine all 76 FIRs and give us a report by January 10 stating whether it would be possible for the agency to investigate all these cases.”
The CBI said, “Different state police are conducting investigation into different FIRs against accused persons pertaining to localised conspiracies employed to cheat individual investors. As directed by the Supreme Court, the CBI, on the other hand, is investigating a conspiracy on a much larger canvas with broader ramification, including diversion of funds through sham land developments in India as well as in Australia, Dubai and other countries.”
The apex court had earlier directed the CBI to hand over title deeds of land purchased by group companies to an SC-constituted committee. “In compliance of the order, the CBI has already handed over 26,680 title deeds and registration papers of 47 luxury cars to the committee, which were seized from PACL Ltd,” the agency said.
The CBI has arrested top officials of Pearl group including Bhangoo and Sukhdev Singh, Subrata Bhattacharya and Gurmeet Singh of PACL. They have been lodged in Tihar jail in judicial custody since February 23. Bhangoo and his companies promised investors that allotment of land would be done on their investment in 90 to 270 days and if not, handsome returns would be paid. In the allotment letters given to investors, the company specified that it reserved the right to change the site of allotment even though the company never owned any land in its name.