The Supreme Court on Friday refused to go into a plea seeking probe by an SIT into alleged payoffs to politicians, including the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, purportedly by big business houses.
The apex court termed the documents produced by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan as zero", "fictitious" and "not authentic".
The plea sought probe in connection with raids on two business houses here in 2013-14 which purportedly showed computerised inventories containing designations of top people having received money.
“You take this back. You come when you have some better material. This is zero material. It is only an insinuation,” a bench comprising Justices J.S. Khehar and Arun Mishra said.
As the bench was not inclined to order any investigation, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the allegations are “scandalous, malafide” and NGO Common Cause, which has filed the plea, was indulging in “kite flying.”
The Bench said it can only hear the matter if the NGO can come out with “better material” on December 14.
“We can’t order investigation only because you name a big person,” it said.
"According to a judgment of the Supreme Court, Sahara group's documents are not genuine and are fictitious... We cannot start an investigation just like that on the documents you have produced," the bench said.
“Give us some better material, good material. What is this material? Just because it is a computer entry would you rope in the entire world. We are very clear if the suspicion arouses the conscience of any person, it is a good material.
“So far as this material is concerned, it does not arouse suspicion. We are not satisfied at all. These are high public functionaries. If you are bringing this material before us, it is nothing. It is a serious issue. You must give us something on which we can determine,” the bench added.
The court did not accept the arguments of senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani that the investigation can be ordered based on the material provided by the NGO.
“All these are non-genuine documents. They are all fictitious documents. You are relying on that. We already had held it was all fictitious. Give us something authentic,” the bench said, referring to the material about one of the business groups.
When Mr. Bhushan referred to another business group, the bench said anyone, anywhere today can make entry of a hundred persons.
“There are thousands of unscrupulous persons in the country and can be making entries. Presuming we accept what you say then see how far—reaching impact it can have. We are not shying away from taking any action, but on which material we can order investigation,” the apex court said.
“There should be some good material, there should be some supporting material and for investigation, there should be some prima facie material. At present, there is nothing. We can’t order investigation. You can’t have investigation only because you name a big person,” it said.
On November 22, the plea was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur who had said that it would come up for hearing today.
The plea has sought constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe “incriminating” evidence and details of “unaccounted” cash recovered allegedly during the raids by the Income Tax department and CBI on the two companies.
It has also sought a direction to CBI, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to “produce the records and the seized material recovered in the raids” before the apex court.
The plea has asked for a direction to the “authorities not to return the seized documents to the business groups concerned“.
The application, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has claimed that “actionable evidence” gathered during the raids on both the groups was given a “quiet burial” by IT department and CBI.
It has said that CBI had conducted raids in 2013 at various premises of a company of one of the group during its probe into the coal block allocation scam case.
“The documents seized by CBI in its search operation in Mumbai reportedly revealed massive bribery of politicians and officials of various ministries over several years,” it has alleged.
Referring to media reports, the plea said the IT department had raided the other group’s offices in Delhi and Noida in November 2014 during which “incriminating documents and cash” were allegedly seized.
(With PTI inputs)