The Allahabad High Court has slammed the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), and the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) for their apparent negligence in probing the alleged embezzlement by Shine City Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd, a real estate firm in Uttar Pradesh.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by Shriram Ram, an investor in the company, who raised concerns about the inadequacy of the ongoing investigation.

The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth and Justice Prashant Kumar expressed dismay at the lackadaisical manner in which the investigation had been conducted.

"..all these agencies have utterly failed to carry out the investigation properly. The entire investigation has been carried out in most lackadaisical manner. All these investigating agencies are directed to carry out proper investigation against the accused and the Companies and further put sincere efforts to find out the trail of all the money," the Court said.

The Bench noted that despite the petitioners providing information about 60 other companies allegedly owned by the accused, the investigative agencies had failed to take action or even investigate these claims. Additionally, the Court criticized the ED for its lack of progress in tracing the money trail, highlighting that the Investigating Officer admitted to having collected zero evidence thus far.

Consequently, the Court ordered the investigative agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the accused and the associated companies, emphasizing the need to track the money trail diligently. It directed them to submit a status report detailing the progress of the investigation by the next hearing scheduled for July 1, 2024.

Furthermore, the Division Bench directed the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, to provide updates on the extradition process of the fugitive accused, adding another layer of scrutiny to the case. "Ministry of External Affairs to file an affidavit/better affidavit showing the day to day progress about extradition of the fugitive accused, from the date request has been made," the Bench directed.

"By the next date, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India shall file the detailed status report on extradition of the fugitive accused. Further, a status report showing the progress of the investigation should be filed by E.D., S.F.I.O. and E.O.W. List this case on 01.07.2024 at 10.00 A.M. for further hearing," the Court ordered.

The scam involving Shine City Infra Project Private Limited has left approximately 1647 investors in turmoil, with allegations of fraudulent schemes and bounced cheques amounting to Rs. 237 crores. Despite efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, including referrals to investigative agencies, the main accused, Rashid Naseem, remains at large, reportedly residing comfortably in Dubai after evading arrest in Nepal.

Cause Title: Shriram Ram v. State of U.P. and others


Petitioner: Advocates Akhilesh Kumar Mishra, Akhilesh Kumar Singh, Chandra Kumar Rai, Gyanendra Prakash Srivastava, Rajesh Kumar Yadav, Sunil Kumar

Respondent: Advocates Hari Om Sharan Tiwari, Rajiv Lochan Shukla, Sanjay Shukla, Syed Ahmed Faizan, Zaheer Asghar

Click here to read/download the Order