The Supreme Court on Friday quashed criminal proceedings against former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief in a corruption case involving alleged misuse of his official position in taking his four aides to London with him.
A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam scrapped it saying there is no evidence against Sharief to establish that he or his aides got pecuniary advantage in taking four of his staff members with him on a tour to London in 1995.
The court observed it is difficult to visualise that he adopted corrupt or illegal means to get benefit for himself or his associates by taking them on an official tour.
The case was lodged against Sharief alleging that he had caused loss of around Rs seven lakh to the public exchequer by taking his staff members on an official tour, which was not required.
The apex court passed the verdict on a plea by Sharief challenging a Delhi high court order refusing to quash the criminal case against him.
Sharief had approached the apex court against the April 11 order of the high court, dismissing his plea against a trial court's decision to reject a CBI closure report in the corruption case against him and prosecute him instead.
Sharief had been accused of "dishonestly" ensuring the journey of his erstwhile Additional Private Secretary B N Nagesh, stenos S M Masthan and V Muralidharn, and driver C H Samaullah to London with him.
The case dates back to 1995 when Sharief, as a Union minister, had gone to London for his treatment and had allegedly taken with him four of his staffers "unauthorisedly, causing a loss of Rs seven lakh to the state exchequer."
A special CBI court had framed charges against the former minister on July 3 for allegedly causing loss to the public exchequer during his foreign jaunt.
An FIR was registered against Sharief in 1998 by the CBI. The agency, however, had filed a closure report in 2005 citing refusal of sanction.
But the lower court had rejected the closure report saying it appears that the entire material collected by the prosecution had not been placed before sanctioning authority.
The CBI had again filed a closure report. The special judge, however, had declined the agency's request and had taken cognisance of the case under the Anti Corruption Act.