The Madras High Court on Monday, December 13, ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the probe into the recent alleged fleeing of two South Koreans from India to Myanmar. A division bench of Justices PN Prakash and R Hemalatha gave a direction to this effect, when the habeas corpus petitions from the duo came up for hearing.
The original charge against Choi Yong Suk and Choe Jaewon, said to be the MD and GM of a private firm, was that they had committed GST (goods and services tax) evasion of over Rs 40.37 crore, which led to filing of a case in a Chennai court.
They were arrested in 2019 and kept in Puzhal prison. On obtaining bail, they were lodged at the foreigners detention camp at Tiruchirappalli. Their plea to permit them to stay at their residence was rejected by the High Court. On an appeal, the Supreme Court had granted them the relief subject to the condition that they bear the cost of about Rs 3 lakh towards security guards. Later, the car driver of the Koreans alleged that the duo had utilised his services to flee from the country fraudulently. Following this, a case was registered by the Palur police in Chengalpattu district under various sections of the IPC.
Fearing arrest, the duo moved the High Court with a criminal original petition seeking advance bail and the same was rejected by Justice M Dhandapani on October 26 this year. The judge had held that the allegations against the petitioners were very grave in nature. The nationality of the petitioners warrant that they abide by the rule of law of this land and no special treatment could be meted out to them. â€śSuch being the case, it was incumbent on the police to proceed in accordance with law insofar as investigation and take further course of action in the matter without in any way being influenced by the order of the Supreme Court, as the same would in no way stand in the way of the police to act in accordance with law,â€ť the judge had said.
When the habeas corpus petition came up for further hearing on Monday, government advocate C Muniapparaj filed a status report before the bench, led by Justice Prakash. He told the judges the two accused had fabricated or manipulated documents and fled India to Myanmar via Manipur on October 28 this year.
After going through the status report, the judges opined that some officials in the Consulate General of that country in Chennai appear to have been involved in the case.
â€śHence, it is a fit case to be transferred and investigated by the CBI,â€ť the judges said and directed the Chengalpattu SP to hand over all the papers to the central agency, which should probe the matter and file a report on January 25.