IN A case of impersonation registered 25 years ago, an 85-year-old man was provided relief from appearing in court on Monday. After getting permanent exemption from the apex court last year, accused Jasbir Manchanda (85), a consultant, got permission from a local court to get his statement recorded “through questionnaire to his advocate”.
The case was investigated by the CBI and chargesheet submitted in 1995. The case was registered on the complaint of Deputy Chief Controller S Rajshekhar at the export-import office in New Delhi. He had lodged the complaint in 1989 and the case was registered in 1991. Rajshekhar had filed the complaint against Mumbai-based company, Neelam International, and its owner S P Khurana, who had sought two import-export licenses. He had alleged that Khurana had imported goods (copper) but not exported them. However, the investigating agency could not trace anyone by the name of Khurana and claimed that he was a fictitious character.
The charge sheet in the present case was submitted against the accused G L Badlani and Jasbir Manchanda as the CBI had come across monetary transactions establishing that the company was being run by Manchanda and Gadlani (a bank employee) was aware of it.
Passing the order, the court held, “The entire trial has been conducted in the presence of counsel appearing for the accused Jasbir Singh Manchanda without once requiring his personal appearance before the court and the stage has now reached for recording of statement of the accused under Section 313 CrPC. The apex court took note of the fact that the object of recording the statement of the accused under Section 313 CrPC was for the benefit of the accused and as corollary to the justice delivery system and therefore, a pragmatic and humanistic approach was warranted where on the account of certain special exigencies, the accused was unable to appear personally before the court to get his statement recorded.”
Giving permission to take his statement in question-answer format, the court said Manchanda would be submitting an affidavit in which “(a) A narration of facts to satisfy the court of his real difficulties to be physically present in court for giving such answers, (b) An assurance that no prejudice would be caused to him in any manner by dispensing with his personal appearance during such questioning, (c) An undertaking that he would not raise any grievance on that score at any stage of the case.”