The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea filed by former Indian cricketers Kirti Azad and Bishan Singh Bedi demanding a court-monitored investigation by the CBI into alleged criminal offence committed by Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials.
Justice Manmohan refused to entertain the plea, saying: “The court is of the view that the present writ petition is premature as preliminary enquiry has already been registered.”
Refusing to entertain the plea as the CBI had initiated investigation in October, the court said: "This court is also of the view that SITs (Special Investigation Teams) as well as court-monitored investigation should take place in the rarest of rare cases and not in every normal matter or just because a Union minister is named in the writ petition." The two petitioners had also sought appointment of an independent administrator to look into the alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA.
Azad and Bedi had impleaded the central and state governments, the CBI and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), apart from all the current and former DDCA officials, including its former president, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, representing Bedi, told the court that there is a need of court-monitored probe as it is apprehended that the CBI will not be able to conduct a free and fair investigation of allegations made against DDCA, especially since Arun Jaitley (during whose tenure as president most of the allegations pertain to) is presently a senior cabinet minister in the Union council of ministers.
Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the CBI, opposed the plea, saying the agency is seized of the matter and it will bring the probe to conclusion. "The CBI is an independent agency. This petition is premature. Merely on the allegations, they (petitioners) want investigation should be court-monitored. There is no need of court-monitored probe. Petitions can't be used to settle scores," Kaul added.
The CBI had asked for some documents from the DDCA and other connected bodies and some of the witnesses have also been examined, the ASG told the court.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the central government, also opposed the plea, saying it has given land to other sports bodies at concessional rates and petitioners have not challenged the policy on which allotment has been made. The plea was filed by Azad, Bedi, Maninder Singh, Dronacharya awardee cricket coach Gurcharan Singh and two others, and had sought direction to the central government to cancel the privileges like subsidised land that have been extended to DDCA and to ensure that no “loss” is caused to the exchequer.