New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea seeking revocation of the pardon granted to businessmen and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena in AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
Justice C. Hari Shankar, upholding Saxena approver status, said, "Resultantly, I find myself in agreement with the view, expressed by the learned Special Judge, that, before the recording of his statement under Section 306 (4) of the Cr PC, the application, of the petitioner (ED), as preferred before him, was not maintainable."
The court noted that a preliminary objection had been advanced by Saxena's counsel RK Handoo that the CrPC does not contemplate "revocation of pardon". Handoo has said that pardon, once granted, can neither be revoked nor withdrawn or cancelled.
"Strictly speaking, this contention may be correct; however, certain judicial decisions have referred to revocation of pardon, once tendered under Section 306 of the Cr PC, following the issuance of certificate, by the Public Prosecutor under Section 308 (1). Interestingly, Ratanlal and Dhirajlal, too, in their "The Code of Criminal Procedure" - which has, with the passage of time, become a classic of sorts - specifically refer to "revocation of pardon". In any event, the impugned order, dated 5th March, 2020, does not reject the application, of the petitioner, on the ground that no concept of "revocation of pardon" exists in law, but proceeds to hold that the application was not maintainable, as no statement, of the respondent, had been recorded, before moving the application," the court said.
The court said: "This view, as expressed by the learned Special Judge, eminently commends itself to acceptance. It is not necessary, therefore, to enter, in any detail, into the issue of whether, in law, "revocation of pardon", as a concept, exists, or not."
Enforcement Directorate has challenged a trial court order which had refused to revoke the approver status of Saxena in in the money laundering case.
The economic offences watchdog, through special public productor, had submitted that Saxena while seeking tender of pardon subject to the condition that he will make full disclosure, to the extent, to facts within his knowledge and on March 6, 2019, his statement was recorded and ED has given its no objection for tender of pardon to him and making him as approver and vide order dated March 25, 2019.
"He was granted pardon and he was allowed to be an approver subject to his making full and true disclosure of the whole of circumstances within his knowledge relating to the offense", ED said.
The special public prosecutor, during the arguments, submitted that the respondent has very strategically withheld and not disclosed the full and true facts within his knowledge relating to the commission of the offense and has deliberately hidden and fabricated certain documents to shield the co-accused, which is contrary to the terms of the grant of pardon.
The Dubai-based businessman was extradited to India on January 31 last year in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore alleged scam relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland. (ANI)