The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the investigation against Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and his family members for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets but put an interim stay on the process of attaching and seizure of their properties.
A bench comprising Justices H L Dattu and A R Dave asked Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik to conduct an independent probe and collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties of Kripashankar and his family, including his wife, son, daughter-in-law and daughter while seeking a report in a sealed envelop.
It also restrained the politician and his family members from "alienating, transfer or dealing with properties" enumerated in the petition against them during the pendency of the case in the court and directed them to file an affidavit within three days giving an undertaking in this regard.
"Prima facie at first flash it (allegation against the politician) looks correct so no stay on the proceedings," the bench said.
The court passed the order on petitions filed by Kripashankar and his family members seeking stay of the Bombay high court order of February 22 directing the city police commissioner to prosecute them for "criminal misconduct" under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The high court had also directed the police to attach immovable properties of the Congress MLA.
Challenging the high court's order, they said the order was passed on a petition which was politically motivated.
"Petition was filed by political rivals. It was meant for political warfare in judicial arena to tarnish my image," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kripashankar, submitted while contending that the high court "over-stepped its jurisdiction" in delaying with the matter.
The bench said that this issue of "political battle fought in the court needs consideration" and would be looked into at a later stage.
The bench in its order also said if required the Mumbai police commissioner can approach the competent authority for seeking sanction for prosecution of Kripashankar.
Senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for Kripashankar's son Narendra Mohan, also said there was a "complete overstepping by the writ court and such overstepping is not known in law and should not be allowed".
Another senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Kripashankar's daughter, submitted that the high court order comes in the way of Article 21 of the Constitution as there has been a blatant intrusion of personal liberty of the petitioners.
Maharashtra government counsel Shekhar Nafde opposed the petitions of Kripashankar and his family members saying that the investigation was based on the court's order and there was a warrant for the probe.
The Bombay high court had passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
His counsel Prashant Bhushan told the apex court that the high court had passed the directions after going through the list of properties acquired by the former Mumbai Congress chief in the short span between 2004 and 2006.
The high court while keeping the PIL pending has directed the CP to file a compliance report on April 19.
"The PIL shall be treated as FIR and the report submitted by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in March 2011 showing Kripashankar's income and expenditure shall be treated as investigation," the high court had said.
Tiwari has alleged in the petition that Kripashankar had been close to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, currently in jail for alleged involvement in a multi-crore hawala scam.
He alleged that several monetary transactions had taken place between them.
Kripashankar's son Narendra Mohan is married to Ankita, daughter of Kamlesh Singh, who was a minister in the Koda cabinet, and is now in jail in connection with the hawala scam.
Ankita had received Rs 1.75 crore in her account from Kamlesh, the PIL said, adding there were huge transactions from the bank accounts of Kripashankar's wife Malti Devi too.
Kripashankar's counsels had opposed the PIL, calling it politically motivated and one that served the BJP's interests.