On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered that a copy of the affidavit filed by an investigative journalist investigating corporate fraud and claiming he was stalked and attacked be sent to the Attorney General’s office so they can take his safety into account.
The issue came up when a bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit heard a plea about a company that allegedly siphoned off loans from 27 banks.
Jai Anant Dehadrai, appearing for the petitioner, filed an affidavit in a sealed cover saying the journalist had investigated a corporate fraud and now faces threats. On his way home in Noida, he was also attacked.
A bench member told Attorney General R Venkataramani, who was in the court, that an allegation has been made that certain people, including investigative journalists, were looking into a particular corporate fraud. One of the scribes has now submitted an affidavit that he’s being watched and followed.
Also on the bench were Justices Ajay Rastogi and S R Bhat, who worried about the journalist’s safety.
“We can’t give the name of that gentleman in an order because we don’t want it to be known,” the bench said, adding it will forward the affidavit to the Attorney General’s office.
The bench orally instructed the man, “Use your office and ensure his safety.”.
According to the apex court, the Attorney General has promised that the matter will be looked into and that adequate and effective measures will be taken to ensure personal safety.
The bench was told from the start that the company had taken loans from 27 banks and that a forensic audit showed the money had been stolen.
There’s something important I want to put in sealed cover,” the lawyer said.
The journalist is afraid for his life, so he urged the bench to appoint an amicus curiae to assist the court.
In addition to Rs 12,700 crore from one entity, there are two more that were also publicly listed, and similar tactics were followed there too, so another Rs 12,500 crore has been siphoned through those two. The lawyer claimed that approximately 25,000 crores were siphoned off.
A senior advocate was appointed amicus curiae, and the matter was scheduled for November 3.