The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday quashed a First Information Report registered in connection with Amaravati land scam.
The Court held that the petitioners purchased the lands, in exercise of the said constitutional and legal right and acquired property from the sellers who willingly and voluntarily sold them to the petitioners for a valid sale consideration under registered sale deeds.
Such private sale transactions cannot, therefore, be criminalized and no criminal liability can be attributed to the petitioners in the facts and circumstances of the case to prosecute them for any offences.
“The concept of the offence of insider trading which is essentially an offence in the field of stock market relating to selling and buying the securities and bonds cannot be applied to the offences under Indian Penal Code and cannot be read into Section 420 IPC or into any provisions in the scheme of Indian Penal Code. The said concept of offence of insider trading is totally alien to IPC and it is unknown to our criminal jurisprudence under the Indian Penal Code. So, it cannot even contextually or relatively apply to the facts of the case to prosecute the petitioners,” the Court ruled.
The allegation against the petitioners/ accused was that they had insider knowledge that Amaravati would be chosen as the site for the new capital of divided Andhra Pradesh. They, therefore, bought lands in and around the proposed capital city at cheap prices before the official announcement to build the new capital at Amaravati was announced.
The Court, however, held that petitioners have no legal obligation to disclose the information relating to latent advantages in purchasing the land to the sellers at the time of buying the said land.
Therefore, it does not amount to dishonest concealment of fact as contemplated under the Explanation appended to Section 415 IPC, it was held. It does not amount to any deception under Section 420 IPC read with Section 415 IPC, the Court added.
The Court also said that the sellers did not sustain any loss on account of the said sale transactions and no element of criminality was involved in the sale transaction.
Therefore, the allegations set out in the F.I.R. coupled with the material collected during investigation so far done, do not make out any case or constitute any offences under Sections 420, 406, 409 and 120-B of IPC. No offence of conspiracy to do any illegal act or to commit an offence is made out from the facts of the case.
Hence, the Court invoked its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash the FIR.