The Supreme Court has rejected Speak Asia Panelist Association of India’s plea seeking quashing of criminal proceedings against its members in Maharashtra.
The panelists of Singapore-based marketing company Speak Asia Online, accused of duping investors to the tune of R1,300 crore, had stated that the Vijaywada investigative agency had already completed its probe and filed a chargesheet in the case. So, no purpose would be served by conducting two trials for the same alleged offence, they said.
A bench, comprising justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra, while dismissing its petition as withdrawn said that “its not a case for quashing”. It further said that if the association is so aggrieved it can file a transfer petition for consolidation of cases.
Senior counsel PS Patwalia and counsel Anil Kumar Tandale vehemently argued that the economic offences wing of the Mumbai Police is carrying on investigation for cheating and other offences under the IPC and Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes banning Act 1978 and another investigating agency had already submitted its chargesheet involving the same allegations and accused persons.
The association argued that no cognizances can be taken in the second FIR if the chargesheet in one FIR for the commission of the same alleged offence had already been filed in the trial court.
The continuation of any investigation by the Mumbai police will lead to double jeopardy of its members, the petition stated.
In order to become panelist with Speak Asia, subscription of an e-magazine was necessary after making the payment of R11,000 for a year. The panelists under the controversial multi-level scheme used to conduct online survey for the company in lieu of online payment.
Earlier, the apex court, on a plea filed by a group of 115 investors of Speak Asia seeking recovery of their money, had directed the firm to deposit before it the amount payable to investors and concerned authorities.
It had in October last year asked Speak Asia Online and its related company Haren Ventures to file an affidavit stating that in case of ascertaining financial liability by the mediator the same would be paid by them.