Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pvt bank staff too come under graft Act: SC

Feb 24 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Pvt bank staff too come under graft Act: SC
New Delhi

In a significant judgment expanding the sco pe of Prevention of Corrup tion Act, the SC on Tuesday brought all private bank emp loyees within the ambit of the anti-corruption law, which had so far been applied only against government officials A bench of Justices Ran jan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant, in separate judgments overturned a Bombay HC verdict endorsing a trial co urt decision that cognisance of PC Act charges could not be taken against former cha irman Ramesh Gelli and ex managing director Sridhar Subasri of the erstwhile Glo bal Trust Bank in a `41-crore corruption case because they were not public servants. In August 2004, GTB merged with the public sector Orien tal Bank of Commerce (OBC). The CBI had lodged an FIR against Gelli and Subasri based on a complaint filed by the OBC's chief vigilance officer.The charges of corruption and siphoning off `41crore date back to the time when GTB operated as a private bank.Justice Pant said merely because the legislature had said that Section 46A of Banking Regulation Act was applicable only with respect to Indian Penal Code offences, operation of PC Act for the same offences could not be shut out. “It is clear that object of enactment of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was to make the anti-corruption law more effective and widen its coverage,“ he said.
Agreeing with Justice Pant's conclusion that Gelli and Subasri should be prosecuted under PC Act as well, Justice Gogoi said, “In a situation where the legislative intent behind enactment of PC Act was to expand the definition of public servant, the omission to incorporate the relevant provisions of PC Act in Section 46A of the Banking Regulation Act can be construed to be wholly unintended legislative omission which the court can fill up by a process of interpretation.“

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