Plea to Revoke Approver Status Granted to Rajiv Saxena in AgustaWestland Case Dismissed

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On June 8, 2020, the Delhi High Court dismissed Enforcement Directorate’s plea. It was directing revocation of approver status granted to Rajiv Saxena. It was in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

Facts of the Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) took Rajiv Saxena under arrest on January 31, 2019. It relates to the AgustaWestland money laundering case. Later he got extradited from Dubai. Saxena got a remand in judicial custody after spending 12 days in ED custody. In March 2019, a Special CBI Court allowed Saxena’s plea to turn approver under Section 306 of CrPC. But ED asked to revoke the pardon under Section 308 of CrPC. Saxena failed to provide crucial documents. The documents were allegedly in his possession.

An appeal stated that Saxena concealed essential information during the investigation. The Special CBI Court rejected ED’s plea. It was on the ground that revocation of pardon could be done only after the approver examines as a witness in the Court. Aggrieved by the order, the Enforcement Directorate moved the High Court.

Arguments by the Petitioner

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ED pleaded that Saxena promised to make full disclosure of the information before the Trial Court. They granted a pardon to him after recording his statement. The main contention of ED was that Saxena has withheld various facts and information. Rajiv has not disclosed all the facts related to the offense and has hidden them. Furthermore, certain documents are fake in order to protect the other co-accused. This was contrary to the terms of the pardon granted by the trial court.

Court’s Decision

The High Court stated that ED’s plea was not maintainable. The statement under section 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is not recorded. Further stated if they record the statement under section 306 of CrPC. the ED can plead to revoke the approver’s status.

The HC pointed out at the public prosecutor issuing a certificate under section 308 CrPC. It stated that the approver has given false evidence or fabricated material. This should precede by a recording of the statement. The certificate of the public prosecutor does not follow sections 306 and 308 of CrPC. Thus, it cannot be the only basis to seek revocation of the pardon.

Statements by the Court

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The Court said:

“I find myself in agreement with the view expressed by the special judge, that, before the recording of his statement u/s 306 (4) CrPC. the application of the petitioner (ED), as preferred before him, was not maintainable.”

Justice C Hari Shankar in his 50-page judgment said, “The petition, therefore, fails and remains dismissed. However, the liberty, reserved by the impugned order, with the petitioner, to re-approach the special judge by an appropriate application, at the appropriate stage, remains reserved.”


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