Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu Police (CBCID) to probe the apparent loss of over 103.84 kgs of gold from the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case of Surana Corporation Limited (Surana) where CBI had seized 400.47 kgs of illegally imported gold from a company.
The Judge PN Prakash observed while giving his judgment,
“This Court cannot subscribe to this view, because, the law does not sanction such an inference. All policemen have to be trusted and it does not lie in the mouth of one to say that the CBI have special horns, whereas, the local police have only a tail.”
CBI in raids of 2012 seized 400.47 kgs of illegally imported gold from Surana Corporation Limited (Surana) but after CBI closed criminal proceedings against Surana, only 296.606 kgs were found to be in its custody.
The case saw the CBI file two FIRs in 2012 and 2013, the transfer of the seized gold was made on paper from the file of the first to the second FIR file and the closure of both FIRs.
A Special Court directed that the seized gold be transferred (on paper) to the Director General of Foreign Trade, after accepting the closure of the case against Surana.
This was challenged by Surana in the High Court, which ruled in their favour. Accordingly, the Special Court issued notice to Surana pursuant to a plea for the return of the seized gold.
Banks seeking the repayment of credit from Surana moved the Special Court for the return of the seized gold to them. Surana and the banks reached consensus that the gold would be handed over to the banks.
The joint compromise of both the parties was accepted by the Special Court in 2017.
An unexpected twist was observed when the CBI, the banks and Surana revisited the Surana vaults to check on the seized 400.47 kgs of gold, which now only weighed 296.606 kgs.
The CBI was not able to account for the shortage of 103.864 kgs. IRP moved the High Court seeking a direction that the CBI hand over the purportedly missing gold.
In light of the above the court has directed the State’s CBCID to complete its investigation in the matter within 6 months from the date of FIR registration and is obliged to intimate the outcome of the probe before the jurisdictional Metropolitan Magistrate in Chennai.
Read the Judgment here: