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PNB scam case: Govt questions why it should tell Supreme Court about status of probe

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New Delhi: The central government on Friday resisted monitoring of investigation by the Supreme Court in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case allegedly involving Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, saying there should not be any "parallel inquiry".

Attorney General KK Venugopal opposed a suggestion mooted by the top court that the government should submit a stays report on investigation in a sealed cover envelope.

Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that there is no justification to call upon the investigating agencies to show what they are doing.

"Is there any justification for anyone to come to this court by filing a PIL and say the Court should be informed about the status of investigation? There cannot be a parallel inquiry and parallel investigation by the courts," said the AG.

He added such orders were being passed frequently by courts now but this course will bring the morale down of the investigating agencies.

"In principle what is the justification for any court, not only this court, to call upon the government and seek such reports as if a parallel inquiry in going on? Why should a petition be entertained at all unless there is something wrong to be shown by the petitioner? I oppose such plea on the ground of principle," Venugopal told the bench, also comprising AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

But advocate JP Dhanda, appearing for the PIL, claimed that his petition had not asked for monitoring of the investigation by the court at all.

The court finally adjourned the matter to April 9 after it took umbrage at a statement by Dhanda that AG has perhaps not gone through his petition.

"We won't hear it today now. Nobody can ask Attorney General, who is a constitutional office bearer whether he has read a petition or not. Meet law with law. Such statements are unacceptable to us," remarked the bench, deferring the matter.

PIL by advocate Vineet Dhanda has sought direction to the Centre to ensure PNB scam accused Nirav Modi is brought back to India within two months, apart from the issuance of fresh guidelines on grant of big loans. 

Juxtaposing poor farmers' inability to repay agricultural loans with the recent Rs 11,300 crore PNB fraud, the PIL has sought intervention of the Supreme Court to protect the people's rights.