The Kerala HC had recently granted two months stay on the CBI probe against the state government in Life Mission case.

Two men standing in front of Kerala High CourtImage credit: Kerala HC/Website
news Court Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 18:34

In a setback to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Kerala High Court rejected the agency’s plea to vacate the interim stay in the probe on the alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violations in the state government’s Life Mission project. The Kerala HC had recently granted two months stay on the CBI probe against the state government in Life Mission case.

Dismissing the petition, the court on Tuesday said the plea of the CBI can be considered after the counter affidavit to the Life Mission's plea, challenging the registration of First Information Report (FIR) by the central agency against its unknown officials, is filed.

The counsel for Life Mission opposed the CBI plea for early posting of the case for hearing and its disposal, pointing out that the investigation agency has not filed its counter affidavit.

In its plea filed on Thursday, the agency has submitted that the order creates a serious roadblock to the investigation of the case in connection with alleged receipt of funds from a foreign sponsor for construction of dwelling units in Thrissur district.

The CBI said because of the stay order the agency is unable to collect the files of the Life Mission and also from the state government relating to the case.

In its order issued on October 13, the single bench of the High Court had granted the interim stay on a plea by Life Mission CEO U V Jose, challenging the registration of the FIR by the central agency against unknown officials of Life Mission.

The Court, however, had allowed the CBI to continue its probe initiated against the Managing Director of Unitac Builders and Developers, a private firm which has been awarded the contract for construction of the houses in Wadakanchery Municipality.

In the petition, the CBI has stated that it was also unable to summon and question officials, government servants and people acquainted with the facts of the case and therefore the stay order causes serious roadblocks to the probe.

"Besides the case is one that requires judicial settlement of important and seminal questions of importance. The CBI is ready and willing to address arguments as soon as possible. The subject matter of the case is relating to the interests of the state," the agency had said in the petition.

The case was registered on the basis of a complaint by Congress MLA Anil Akkara alleging Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violations in acceptance of funds from a UAE based humanitarian agency Red Crescent.

An FIR was registered by the CBI, for offences under Indian Penal Code Section 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) read with Section 3 of the FCRA naming Santosh Eappen and unknown officials of the Life Mission.

Read: Kerala Life Mission CEO UV Jose questioned by CBI

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