SC extends stay of criminal proceedings against Azim Premji and others
The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the stay of criminal proceedings against former Wipro chairman Azim Premji, his wife and others for their plea to quash a subpoena issued by a Bengaluru court over a “frivolous complaint” And “mischievous” filed by an NGO alleging breach of trust and corruption in the merger of three companies with a company of the Premji group.
A panel of judges SK Kaul and MM Sundresh was considering an appeal filed by Premji challenging the order of the Karnataka High Court of May 15 which dismissed their requests to quash the January 27 subpoena issued by the court of first instance.
“We would not want to devote considerable judicial time to these proceedings in the context of some of the orders read against the respondent in these proceedings, especially given the criminal contempt proceedings brought against the complainant, the volunteer and Mr. R. Subramanium Empty Order dated July 6, 2021 by a magistrate of the High Court of Karnataka, “the magistracy said.
The Supreme Court has been informed that the next date for these proceedings is October 19.
“Both parties assure us that they will cooperate fully to ensure that a final opinion is taken by the divisional bench in these proceedings and we place the present cases for instruction, on what date, if any, the opinion of the High Court of Karnataka would be placed in front of us, ”said the bench.
The higher court was informed that the violators had not filed a response to the notice of contempt but had filed a request to revoke the order issuing the notice.
“In this request, the applicant (s) before us must file a response and that request will be considered.
“We see no reason why offenders should not file a response to the Notice of Contempt, without prejudice to their requests made in the Request for Recall of the Order and such a response must be filed by October 18. 2021 to the High Court and be put on record and it will then be for the High Court to proceed as deemed appropriate with respect to the contempt notice as well as the request for revocation, ”the magistrate said.
The case is scheduled for the next hearing on December 2.
The Supreme Court had previously sent a notice to an NGO, Indian Awake for Transparency and others, and asked for their response.
Premji and others challenged the May 15 High Court order that dismissed their requests to quash the January 27 summons issued by the lower court.
Other people who challenged the High Court’s order included Pagalthivarthi Srinivasan, then regional director at the Ministry of Commercial Affairs MR Bhat, and public accountant G Venkateshwara Rao.
The summons was issued by the court of first instance on the basis of a complaint filed by India Awake for Transparency alleging the illegality of the transfer of assets of value ??45,000 crore from three companies in a private trust and a newly formed company.
In their appeals, Premji and others said the complainant NGO suppressed important facts and documents, including that the proposed merger had already been sanctioned by the Karnataka High Court by order dated March 26, 2015.
They said the January 27 first-instance court order, hearing and summoning the accused, was made without judicial enforcement and regardless of the fact that the proposed merger had already been approved by the High Court.
Rao in his appeal said the record clearly shows that the complainant is related to an R Subramanian-former promoter and director of a company known as Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd, which is a defaulter of Premji’s companies and a complaint under section 138 of the negotiable instruments law is pending against it.
“Therefore, there is a clear animosity and misunderstanding between R Subramanian and Mr. Azim Premji and the complaint in question appears to be one of the many complaints and frivolous litigation instituted by R Subramanian against Azim Premji and his companies, many of which are dismissed with costs. by different courts / tribunals, ”Rao’s appeal said.
The plaintiff India Awake for Transparency (IAT) alleged that Azim Premji, Yaseem Azim Premji and Pagalthivarthi Srinivasan were given domination over the properties and assets of three companies Vidya Investment and Trading Company Private Limited, Regal Investment and Trading Company Private Limited and Napean Investment and Trading Company Private Limited as directors.
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