The government decision to transfer a criminal matter to the Lokayukta came under the high court’s scrutiny following a criminal writ petition filed by Jowett D’Souza.
D Souza had alleged that a well-organized criminal nexus existed between police officers and hard core criminals regarding the sale of second-hand cars by forging documents and impersonating the owners.
A division bench comprising justice R S Dalvi and justice F M Reis, recently said, “The charges made by the petitioner are of a criminal nature. We do not see how the Lokayukta would be an apt officer to investigate those charges.”
“In any event, we find that the office of the Lokayukta is at present vacant. We therefore find that order dated August 5, 2013, essentially transferring the inquiry for in-depth investigation is an eyewash,” the bench said further.
In November 2012, the home department had ordered an inquiry in the alleged nexus between bank officials, police and transport department on a complaint filed by D’Souza.
The officer appointed to conduct the inquiry, had submitted his report in May 2013. Subsequently, the government had referred the matter for in-depth investigation to the Lokayukta.
The high court has directed the additional public prosecutor to take specific instructions from the government “about how genuinely and bona fide further investigation would be carried out and by which authority so that a time frame for such investigation could be made”. The court has posted the matter for the next hearing on February 13.