Delhi excise scam: Court denies ‘default bail’ to Vijay Nair

A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed an application of former AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair seeking ‘default bail’ in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Special Judge M K Nagpal denied the relief to the accused, saying that the issue was already dealt with by the Delhi High Court, which had dismissed Nair’s application for grant of regular bail sought on the ground that the Enforcement Directorate had field a “piecemeal or incomplete prosecution complaint” (ED’s equivalent to a charge sheet) regarding him.

“In view of the above…it is held that this court is not competent or the appropriate forum to consider the above point or ground for default bail of the accused and the appropriate course available to the accused is to approach the same Judge or Bench of the High Court with a request for consideration of the said point or ground… With the above observations and findings, the present application filed by accused Vijay Nair is being dismissed as not maintainable before this court,” the judge said.

Nair had sought default bail on the ground that though the supplementary prosecution complaint regarding him was filed by ED within the prescribed period of 60 days, it was filed without actual completion of investigation regarding him.

“Hence, it could only be termed as ‘a piecemeal and incomplete complaint or charge sheet’, which has been filed by the investigating agency just to defeat the right of applicant to be released on default bail,” the application said.

The accused further claimed that if the investigating agencies are permitted to file incomplete charge sheets to defeat the right to statutory bail, “then the very fabric of criminal jurisprudence will be destroyed as the law imposes a duty upon the investigating agencies to file the charge sheets against the accused only when investigation in a case is complete in all respects.”

The ED had opposed the application, saying that the investigation regarding Nair stood completed when the prosecution complaint or the first supplementary complaint was filed against him.

“Though some further investigation in the matter for tracing out the other offenders and the balance proceeds of crime generated through the alleged acts of accused persons was still in progress, and is even going on at present despite filing of five prosecution complaints, the same is not a ground to hold that the above prosecution complaint filed qua the applicant is incomplete or a piecemeal complaint,” the ED said.

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The agency added that merely because some further investigation into a case on some given aspects or to trace out the end use of funds, foreign investigation or investigation regarding some foreign bank transactions or records or some other facets of the case was required or it had remained pending, it cannot term the prosecution complaint.

“Such further investigation may be necessary and required in view of peculiar facts of the said case and it is also legally permissible to carry out the same,” the probe agency said.

The excise policy was scrapped in August last year after the Delhi lieutenant governor recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities in its formulation and implementation involving government authorities, bureaucrats and liquor traders, among others.

The ED registered its case based on the FIR lodged by the CBI.

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