The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail plea of Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, who has been arrested for allegedly offering Rs 14 crore bribe to the then Army chief VK Singh for clearing files pertaining to procurement of Tatra-all terrain vehicles.
The order has been reserved by a bench headed by Justice Pratibha Rani after hearing arguments advanced by counsel on behalf of Tejinder Singh and CBI.
“Who knows the practice better then this court. If an accused has not been arrested during the entire investigation and has root in the society, then he cannot be arrested after filing of charge sheet,” former law minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the jailed former Army officer, said.
Besides Sibal, a battery of lawyers including Geeta Luthra, Dayan Krishnan and Pramod K Dubey appeared for Tejinder Singh and sought bail for their client, saying he has been a man of integrity and should have been enlarged on bail by the trial court itself, where he appeared after receiving the summon on September 1.
The counsel for the CBI, however vehemently opposed the submissions of the accused saying, “the practice of granting bail on filing of charge sheet does not entitle an accused to be granted bail. The gravity of the offence alleged against the accused has to be considered.”
The CBI also referred to the statements of the then Army chief Singh and the then Defence Minister AK Antony to support its submission that the allegation against Tejinder Singh were grave in nature.
Sibal, in its rejoinder argument, opposed the submissions of the counsel and referred to various Supreme Court judgements to drive home his point that an accused, who has been out during the investigation should not be arrested on filing of the charge sheet.
“Moreover, evidence presented to the court are documentary in nature,” he said, adding the alleged offence took place on September 22, 2010 and it was reported after the delay of two years in 2012.
Earlier, the court had issued notice to the CBI on the bail application for Thursday.
The probe agency in its reply, has defended the trial court decision to arrest Tejinder Singh in the case.
He had moved the High Court for bail on September 1 after the Special CBI judge ordered his arrest and sent him to judicial custody till September 20.
Tejinder Singh had appeared in the lower court following the summons issued against him in the case and was later taken into custody after the dismissal of his bail plea.
The lower court had taken cognisance of the charge sheet on August 28 after relying upon the statements of Antony, V K Singh and other witnesses whose testimonies were recorded by CBI during the probe.
In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Tejinder Singh met V K Singh in his office in South Block on September 22, 2010, and during the meeting, he had offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to V K Singh for clearing the file of Tatra vehicles by first week of October.