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The Hyderabad High Court on Friday quashed criminal proceedings against India Cements vice-chairman and managing director N. Srinivasan, who was arraigned as a co-accused by the CBI in a ‘disproportionate assets’ case against YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Justice B. Siva Shankar Rao allowed a petition by Mr. Srinivasan, who is also a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India and quashed the proceedings against him.
The petitioner’s main contention was that going by the records filed in court, it was the company, that is, India Cements, that had allegedly benefited from decisions of the government and Mr. Srinivasan himself was not a beneficiary in his personal capacity.
The allegation against Mr. Srinivasan was that his company had made investments to the tune of Rs. 140 crore in different firms linked to Mr. Reddy. In return, the CBI alleged, his company had obtained permission to draw additional water from the river Krishna to its cement manufacturing units, besides a mining lease in Kadapa district for 25 years from the erstwhile Congress regime in Andhra Pradesh.
In his order, the judge considered the legal position that under the Indian Penal Code, there was no vicarious criminal liability, unlike the Negotiable Instruments Act, wherein company directors could be prosecuted for dishonour of cheques. The judge took note of Mr. Srinivasan’s contention that he was not a personal beneficiary of any of the government’s decisions and that he was not privy to any of the contracts concerned. Rather, the company’s board passed resolutions and contracts were entered into as per those decisions.