The CBI has set up an “internal enquiry” after 103 kg gold worth Rs 43 crore, seized and sealed by it eight years ago, went missing, officials said.
The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-CID police to probe the case of “missing” gold, which left the country’s premier investigating agency red-faced.
The gold is part of 400.47-kg bullion and ornaments confiscated by the CBI when it carried out searches at the office of Surana Corporation Ltd in Chennai in 2012 in a case pertaining to alleged favours extended by officials of Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) to the firm in import of gold and silver.
During the hearing on the matter in the high court, the agency lawyer submitted that “an internal enquiry is being conducted by the CBI in this regard”.
“When this Court expressed its opinion, as to why no FIR was registered for theft, the learned Special Public Prosecutor submitted that an internal enquiry is being conducted by the CBI in this regard. He requested this Court to give a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for theft and conduct investigation. He even suggested that this Court could direct the CBI of the neighbouring State or the National Investigating Agency to conduct the investigation,” the high court bench said.
“Had any property been lost either from the malkhana (property room) of the Court or from the malkhana of the CBI, what should have been done?” The answer to this question is obvious.
A regular FIR for theft should have been registered in the jurisdictional police station and the police investigation under Chapter XII of CrPC should have been conducted”, the high court noted.
Normally, in such a case of missing property, the CBI immediately files an FIR with the local police but even after the case came to the notice of CBI Director RK Shukla in March this year, no FIR has been registered so far.
Senior IPS officer Shukla, with no prior experience in the CBI, was appointed as its chief in February 2018. His two-year fixed tenure is coming to an end next February.
There was no response to an SMS seeking the response of the CBI Director on the matter.