The then private secretary of former Telecom Minister A Raja and one of the accused in 2G spectrum allocation case, R K Chandolia has moved an application in the Delhi High Court stating that CBI's appeal challenging their acquittal is now 'infructuous' due to 2018 amendment to the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
Chandolia, in his plea, mentioned that by virtue of PC (Amendment) Act, 2018, substituting Section 13 of PC Act, 1988, the charge of criminal misconduct no longer applies to him.
According to Chandolia's application, the PC Act 2018 was introduced to remedy such gross misuse of power of launching criminal prosecution by investigating agencies against honest officers, who may have been negligent, but were not accused of receiving any illegal gratification. It is submitted that when the Act is beneficial in nature, then Section 6A of the General Clauses Act shall not apply.
"The amendment to the Section 13 of the PC Act, 1988 is relevant in the present case as the acts which are considered as criminal misconduct post amendment are limited only to dishonest or fraudulent misappropriation of property or illegal enrichment," the application said."In this case, there is no allegation by the appellant CBI against the applicant of dishonest or fraudulent misappropriation of property or illegal enrichment by the present applicant," the plea said.
Chandolia's plea, filed by advocate Vijay Aggarwal, said it is a settled proposition of law that once an Act is repealed, it must be considered as if it had never existed and same would be considered obliterated from the statute books.
"The applicant (Chandolia) and other accused persons have acquired a vested right after having been declared innocent and exonerated from all the charges including but not limited to under the stringent section 13 (1) (d) of PC Act which is no longer a law in force," the application said.
It is stated that the 2018 amendment has entirely changed the definition of the offence of "criminal misconduct", as relevant to the case. Chandolia argued that the High Court has to make a preliminary enquiry as to whether the allegations would stand in view of the narrower definition of "criminal misconduct" after the amendment.
The plea stated that the Amendment Act of 2018 did not have any "savings clause" to save the prosecutions launched under the unamended provisions of PC Act. Chandolia has requested the High Court to decide the preliminary issue regarding the matter in the light of the grounds raised in the present application. The High Court is currently dealing with the CBI's appeal challenging the acquittal of all accused including Raja in the 2G spectrum case.
(With inputs from ANI)