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SC dismisses SLP on Amaravati land scam

SC dismisses SLP on Amaravati land scam

In a setback to the YSR Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the special leave petition of the government on the alleged insider trading in land transactions in Amaravati.

A division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari, rejected the SLP challenging the state high court order of January 19, quashing of criminal cases filed in connection with the alleged insider trading in land transactions at Amaravati

The Supreme Court bench agreed with the high court order, observing that private sale transactions cannot be criminalised and that the concept of the offence of "insider trading,” which is essentially an offence in the field of stock market relating to selling and buying the securities and bonds, is not applicable for land transactions.

The term “insider trading” does not come under Indian Penal Code and cannot be read into Section 420 of the IPC or into any provisions in the scheme of IPC, the Supreme Court said.

The state had filed criminal cases alleging that some politicians and influential people had purchased lands in Amaravati after being privy to the information from the then Chandrababu Naidu government that the area was being developed as state capital after the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014

On Monday, senior Advocate Dushyant Dave arguing for the state, strenuously argued that provisions of Section 418 IPC read with section 55(5) of the Transfer of Property Act would be attracted in the instant case, which has been overlooked by the High Court.

However, the Supreme Court bench said Section 418 would not be attracted in the facts of the present case.

“There is no question of any loss being caused to any person or to the sellers or of any cheating by the buyers. Neither by law nor by a legal contract were the buyers obliged to disclose any facts in any case. There was no such relationship between the buyer and seller for which the buyer was bound to protect the seller,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court also rejected Dave’s argument that in a criminal case, the high court need not have gone into the facts of the matter and should have left it to the investigating agency and the trial court to see whether any criminal act was involved.

The bench pointed out that the land transactions were executed sometime in 2014-15, but the FIRs had been lodged on October 16, 2020 on the basis of the complaint dated September 7, 2020.

“First of all, the complainant was neither a seller or any other party. Secondly, the FIR was lodged six years later,” it said.

The right to acquire and own property is a constitutional right, legal right and human right, so no criminal ability can be fastened to any persons who purchased lands in the proposed capital region, the Supreme Court pointed out.

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