The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Complaint delay fails to corner minister

Cuttack, March 12: An Orissa magistrate’s court today found prima facie a case of “submission of false affidavit” against state higher education minister Samir Dey, but declined to take cognisance against him “on the basis of the complaint” filed by the state.

SDJM (Sadar), Cuttack, said though “prima facie, the offence under section 177 of IPC is made out against Samir Dey”, cognisance cannot be taken as there was inordinate delay and deliberate lapses on the part of the sub-collector, Cuttack, to file complaint on time.”

The court observed that documents prima facie show, while filing nomination on April 4, 2004, as a candidate for Cuttack assembly seat, Dey furnished information that no case was pending against him in which cognisance had been taken by a court. “On the contrary, cognisance was taken against him as an accused in a case on October 28, 1999, and charges were framed in another case under sections 341 and 353 on August 25, 2000,” the magistrate said, adding that it appears Dey was “at least aware of the pendancy of the case in the court of the SDJM (Sadar), Cuttack, by the time of his filing nomination but he did not furnish the information to the returning officer, which he was legally bound to have.”

“Therefore, prima facie, the offence u/s 177 of IPC is made out against Dey,” SDJM Srikant Mishra observed in an eight-page order.

He, however, expressed limitation of his power to take cognisance. “The starting point of the period of limitation is the date of offence. Therefore, in the instant case the court could be able to take cognisance against Dey had the complainant filed within one year by April 4, 2005.”

Sub-collector M.K. Rath had on May 30, 2006, informed chief electoral officer Alaka Panda that no false information appears to have been furnished by Dey at the time of filing nomination. Not satisfied, the CEO in a confidential letter to the Cuttack collector on January 8, 2007, directed to file a complaint by January 22. The complaint was filed on only March 9.

When contacted, Dey said over phone to The Telegraph: “The law has taken its own course.”

Chief electoral officer Alaka Panda, who was away at New Delhi, could not be reached for comments.

Deputy chief electoral officer G. Bisoi said they would seek a report from the sub- collector.

“After going through the court order and the sub-collector’s report, appropriate step would be taken,” he added.

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