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Ambanis face Secrets Act call

New Delhi, May 6: A special court has directed chief metropolitan magistrate Sangita Dhingra Sehgal to issue summons to Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani and managing director Anil Ambani for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act.

The CBI had charged the Ambani brothers with possessing classified government documents.

Photocopies of four secret documents of different ministries were recovered from the Reliance office during a CBI raid on October 28, 1998. The CBI alleges that copies of the secret documents were faxed to the late Dhirubhai Ambani, his sons Mukesh and Anil, and executive director N.R. Meswani.

Additional sessions judge Bhasin, while going through a revision petition filed by the Ambanis, said Sehgal “failed to exercise her discretion in summoning each and every person against whom offence is prima facie made out from the record”. He added that “the clear provision of law seems to have escaped her attention”.

The accused had moved the special court against the chief metropolitan magistrate’s order condoning the CBI’s delay in filing a case.

The chief metropolitan magistrate should have ordered the summoning of the accused on the basis of existing material and averments in the complaint, the court said.

Bhasin also criticised the CBI for being selective in its investigation and said the agency chose not to prosecute the accused.

Citing a Supreme Court judgment, the judge said that according to the Official Secrets Act, no sanction is needed from a higher authority to prosecute someone. The Official Secrets Act only says an authorisation is needed to file a complaint, he added.

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