NEW DELHI, Feb 22:
A Delhi court has sought the CBI’s response on a plea by INLD leader Ajay Chautala, who is serving 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam case, for transfer of a disproportionate assets case against him to another court.
District Judge Ravinder Kaur issued notice to CBI on the plea and listed it for filing of reply and hearing arguments on March 3.
While hearing a similar transfer application by co- accused Abhimanyu Singh, the court summoned S L Goyal, a CBI witness in the DA case, on a claim that he was a relative of the presiding officer hearing the matter.
The district judge noted that the concerned presiding officer, in his comments, had not specifically denied that the witness is not known to him.
CBI prosecutor said despite several attempts, the witness could not be contacted and it was necessary to get information for him as to whether he was known to any other CBI judge posted in the district.
Advocates Harsh Sharma and Vaibhavi Sharma, who appeared for Ajay, sought the transfer of the case saying their client apprehended that he would not get a fair trial if the case continued to be tried by the court presided by the same judge.
The counsel alleged that the presiding officer’s conduct was “utmost unfair” and the evidence was being recorded in the “most illegal manner” by permitting the prosecution to put leading questions.
On both the transfer pleas, the district judge had sought the comments of the presiding officer and, according to sources privy to the case, he has said that the grievance of the accused persons is the expeditious trial being done by the court as they were interested in delaying it by steps like appearing late for court proceedings from the jail.
Regarding Abhimanyu’s claim that the CBI witness was related to the presiding officer, the sources said the judge has mentioned that Goyal was a distant relative.
He is also understood to have said that in case this “insignificant relationship” was creating apprehension in the mind of accused, either the witness could be examined by some other court or the case could be transferred to another court.
The court is currently recording evidence in the DA case in which Ajay, son of former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, is facing trial.
Two other similar cases are pending before it against his brother Abhay and their father. The cases were filed on a complaint by Haryana Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.
Ajay is serving 10-year imprisonment awarded in January 2013 by another CBI court in the 1999-2000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers’ recruitment scam.
Chautala was also sent to 10 years in jail in the JBT case. The Supreme Court had dismissed the appeals of Chautala and Ajay and had upheld their jail term.
CBI had chargesheeted Ajay in 2010 indicting him for possessing assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 per cent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore, but he had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, it had alleged.
All the charges have been denied by Chautala and his sons. (PTI)