Modi government opposes petition for probe in PNB scam in Supreme Court

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Modi government opposes petition for probe in PNB scam in Supreme Court

The court's observations came while hearing a petition that sought a court monitored probe into the Rs 11,400 crore scam.

The top court said it would step in only when agencies fail to carry out the investigation properly.

While Dhanda protested against the observations made by the Chief Justice and Justice Chandrachud, stating that he would withdraw his petition because the "Bench is insulting me", Justice Khanwilkar intervened to say: "you can make legal arguments but do not make emotional arguments".

Before parting, the bench added, "these are all petitions that play to the gallery... you can't pre-empt the power of government to investigate".

"Speeches have no impact on the court".

But Vineet Dhanda, petitioner and advocate, said the issue was of utmost urgency as a "few influential and connected businessmen have decamped with thousands of crores of public money from right under the nose of the government".

Petitioner Dhanda said the attorney-general must be asked to explain.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, submitted, "We are opposing this petition".

CJI Misra said that the court wanted to hear the government's objection to the PIL and posted the case for hearing on 16 March.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud intervened, saying, "Do not pose questions to the Chief Justice. this establishes that this is a publicity-oriented litigation". The plea has asked for a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the banking fraud, allegedly involving billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

The petitioner responded, "A man with a small loan is hounded by the authorities". The plea has sought a direction to the Finance Ministry to frame guidelines on the grant and disbursal of loans involving big amounts. Among other things, he sought establishment of an experts body to deal with cases of bad banking debts in the country. Besides, he sought framing of rules for the recovery of loans from the defaulters within a stipulated period, even by attaching their properties and auctioning them in the open market.

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