HC directs CBI to recall LOC against businessman in corruption case involving Moin Qureshi
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed CBI to recall the Look-Out Circular (LOC) issued against a Hyderabad-based businessman who is an accused in a corruption case involving meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi and the agency's ex-director A P Singh.
Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said since Pradeep Koneru, the businessman, has been regularly joining the investigation, there is no justification in keeping alive the LOC which was issued on May 16 last year.
"Since the petitioner (Koneru) has been regularly joining investigation, there is no justification in keeping the present Look-Out Circular dated May 16, 2018, alive. The same be recalled by the issuing authority," the court said.
The court also imposed certain conditions on Koneru, including that he has to join the probe as and when called by the investigating officer (IO) and cooperate with the CBI.
It also said that in case he has to travel abroad, he has to furnish to the IO the details of the country where is proposes to go, one week prior to the visit.
"The petitioner shall not travel abroad for more than two weeks in one month... The amount of Rs six crore deposited by the petitioner in the court shall be kept in the form of FDR till March 31, 2021 on auto renewal basis," the court said.
In case of any violation of the conditions by Koneru, the FDR will be forfeited and the CBI is at liberty to take appropriate recourse in accordance with the law, it said.
It asked the trial court to return his passport and directed the high court registry to communicate a copy of this order to the FRRO.
The high court passed the order on Koneru's plea seeking quashing of the LOC issued against him by the CBI in the corruption case.
The FIR, in connection with which Koneru was being questioned, was filed in 2017 by CBI after ED and Income Tax department's probe into money laundering and black money allegations against Qureshi allegedly revealed involvement of senior public servants.
The ED had written a letter to the CBI in this regard and it had in 2017 lodged an FIR against the meat exporter as well as its former director A P Singh, Koneru and several others.
Another Hyderabad-based businessman, Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint a bribery case was filed against then CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, is also a witness in this case.
Koneru is a prosecution witness in the ED case.
During the arguments earlier, the CBI counsel had admitted in the court that Koneru was an accused in the corruption case and a division bench of the high court had on February 5, directed that no coercive steps be taken against him, which direction is still continuing.
The court, in its order, noted that the record revealed that Koneru has joined the investigation in the case prior to issuance of the LOC.
The businessman's counsel had submitted that Koneru would record his undertaking to the court that he will continue to cooperate in the investigation and will not tamper with evidence or influence any witness.
In this regard, the judge also recorded the statement of Koneru, who was present in the court.