The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the framing of charges against former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in connection with a 1995 corruption case.
A bench of justices P Sathasivama and J Chelameswar, while refusing to stay the lower court procedure after which the formal trial of an accused begins, posted Sharief's appeal for further hearing to July 4.
Appearing for Sharief, senior counsel Rajiv Dutta, in his brief submission, sought his discharge, claiming that he was innocent and no prior sanction was obtained by the CBI from the government to prosecute him, as mandated by section 197 of the CrPC for prosecution of a public servant.
The case dated back to 1995 when Sharief, as an Union minister had gone to London for medical treatment allegedly taking four others on the trip unauthorisedly and causing a loss of Rs 7 lakh to the ex-chequer.
Sharief has come to the apex court against an April 11 order of the Delhi high court, dismissing his plea challenging a trial court's decision to reject a CBI closure report in the corruption case against him and prosecute him instead.
Rejecting the CBI closure report, the trial court had proceeded with Sharief's prosecution for his culpability in unauthorisedly taking along with him four persons to London during his tenure as minister.
The CBI had filed the closure report in the case for want of official sanction to prosecute him, but the trial court had proceeded against him despite that.
The high court had rejected Sharief's plea saying his act did not require sanction under the CrPC to try him for offences under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
It was alleged that during 1995, while functioning as the railways minister, Sharief arranged foreign visits of four persons, besides the officials allowed by the government, for his personal use.
An FIR was registered against Sharief in 1998 by the CBI, however, in 2005, the agency filed a closure report citing refusal of sanction.
The lower court, however, had rejected the closure report saying it appeared that the entire material collected by the prosecution had not been placed before sanctioning authority.
The CBI again filed a closure report. However, the special judge declined the CBI request and took cognisance of the offence under P C Act.
Sharief is accused of 'dishonestly' ensuring journey of B N Nagesh, his additional private secretary, S M Masthan and V Muralidharn, both steno and C H Samaullah, a driver, to London with him.