Frame guidelines regarding release of passport: Court

By Sarkaritel May 1, 2015 09:30

Frame guidelines regarding release of passport: Court

New Delhi, May 01  A special court hearing the coal block allocation case allegedly involving Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd. (VISUL) directed the passport office on Thursday to frame a uniform policy regarding the release of passports of various accused against whom investigation is pending.

“Chief Passport Officer should frame a uniform policy which should be followed by all Regional Passport Officers (RPO) across the country regarding action to be taken in this regard or as to in which type of cases the court orders, if any, are required,” Special Judge Bharat Parashar said.

“He should also ensure as to under what circumstances the passport of various accused persons shall be released pending investigation, if at all they are to be released.”

The court said a copy of such guidelines shall be also sent to the court so that in future, it may have a valid policy guideline to examine the action taken by RPOs even in other cases of similar nature.

The court order came after noticing that the RPOs were acting or initiating action as per their own discretion without following any uniform policy which ought to have been followed.

“In a number of such cases, it has been seen that either no action is initiated by the RPO qua the passports so received or the passports are simply lying in their offices for months and years together and it is only, when the accused persons move for a court order that the RPO starts initiating some or the other action,” the court noted.

The court was hearing six applications for release of passports on behalf of applicants Nisha Tylsyan, Prashant Tulsyan, Vimal Kumar Tulsyan, Nirmala Tylsyan, Sanjeev Tulsyan and Hemant Tulsyan.

A passport officer told the court that though initially the passport of the applicants were impounded but later on as five out of the six accused peopke were not chargesheeted by the CBI, so without asking for court orders, the passports were released to the respective passport holders.

However, the applicants’ counsel told the court that their passports were not being released and the RPO was asking for court orders.

The court quizzed the passport officer about the guidelines regarding impounding or release of passports of various people which are received by them from various investigating agencies.

The passport officer replied that though no such guidelines have been laid down, all RPOs are to act in accordance with the provisions of the Passports Act.

The court then pointed out that in an another case where passports of two accused people were sent to it during investigation by the CBI, and the RPO, Delhi released the said passports during investigation itself despite intimation from the CBI that the probe was still pending against them for various offences including under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A perusal of one such communication showed that the RPO, Delhi stated that the passports of the said two people were being released as they were hard pressing for the same, the court observed.

It said there were a number of instances where passports of various accused people were seized by the CBI during investigation and thereafter sent to various RPOs across the country for action under the Passports Act.

The court noticed that the RPOs are acting or initiating action as per their own discretion without following any uniform policy.

The court was hearing a case involving allocation of coal blocks to VISUL in Jharkhand’s Rajhara town, in which its directors and unknown public servants of the coal ministry, the Jharkhand government and others were named as accused in the first information report lodged in September 2012.

The CBI alleged that the company had fraudulently claimed an inflated net worth and its ownership too had changed hands ahead of the 36th screening committee meeting.

Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, ex-coal secretary Harish Chandra Gupta and six people and company VISUL are facing trial in the case.

All individuals are out on bail.

By Sarkaritel May 1, 2015 09:30