‘Delay in preliminary enquiry not ground for quashing graft case’

The PE is only an enquiry to gather prima facie info to register an FIR: SC

The Supreme Court has held that delay in completion of the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) is not a ground for quashing a corruption case.

The PE is only an enquiry to gather prima facie information to register an FIR and not an investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure, a Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna observed in a recent judgment.

“While considering the prima facie case for the purpose of registering the FIR, some enquiry/investigation is bound to be there. However, the same shall be only for the purpose of finding out a prima facie case for the purpose of registration of the FIR,” Justice Shah clarified in the judgment. The court said whatever enquiry was conducted at the stage of PE could by no stretch of imagination be considered as investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). An investigation under the CrPC could only be after registration of the FIR.

Further, the Court said a corruption case could not be quashed by a lower court merely on the ground that “some more time” was taken to find out whether the allegations against the suspected person were prima facie true.

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