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SIT's future uncertain

Vijay Singh in Mumbai | March 18, 2004 00:01 IST

The Special Investigation Team in Maharashtra is busy preparing reports of various stamp scam cases that it is going to hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation following the Supreme Court directive.

But it is not clear if the SIT will now be disbanded or under which act the CBI will investigate the cases that it gets.

The Stamp Scam: The Full Coverage

The SIT will hand over 23 cases, including the one registered with the Bandh Garden police station in Pune, to the agency.

The SIT was investigating the Bandh Garden case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. On September 5, 2003, following a directive from the Bombay high court, S S Puri was appointed to supervise the SIT team. Later, other stamp scam-related cases booked under the Indian Penal Code in various police stations also came to the SIT.

The SIT had sent a list of 86 stamp scam-related cases to the CBI. The agency will now get 23 of them. In most of the cases investigations are almost completed.

"There are many IPC cases still with SIT," Advocate P D Gharat, who represented the SIT in IPC-related cases, told rediff.com

"Their investigation is to continue. There is no any order from Supreme Court to disband the SIT or against S S Puri."

The case at the Bandh Garden station is the main one and many top Mumbai police officials have been held in connection with it.

But now the question is under which act the CBI will investigate that case -- MCOCA is a state act and the central government agency cannot investigate a case under it.

Gharat said, "Here the question is whether the CBI can step in the shoes of SIT to conduct the investigation further before the special court created by the state government. Otherwise the central prosecution agency is not empowered to prosecute the case under the provision of local enactment."

The CBI will have to register the cases under IPC or a special act meant to deal with economical offences, which will give an opportunity to the arrested accused to get bail.


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