The Director of Prosecution of CBI has assured a special court that no case would go unrepresented on its behalf after it drew the court’s ire over absence of its counsel during the hearing of a case. The director’s submission came in pursuance to court’s order in which it had taken strong exception to absence of CBI prosecutor in an over two-decade-old graft case involving former Union Minister P K Thungon and others.
The court had directed the Director of Prosecution of CBI to appear before it and explain why a penalty should not be imposed on the probe agency for seeking adjournment due to the absence of the prosecutor in a day-to-day trial. During the next hearing, Director of Prosecution of CBI, O P Verma, informed the court that the previous prosecutor who was conducting the trial in the case would continue. “The Director of Prosecution has assured the court that he has personally intervened in the matter and undertakes that in future no difficulty will be caused on account of the absence of the public prosecutor so that the cases do not go unattended and unrepresented,” Special CBI Judge Kamini Lau noted in the order.
The court had earlier observed that it was unable to proceed with the recording of statements of the prosecution witnesses for the reasons beyond its control and due to the probe agency. The court was unhappy over the absence of any prosecutor during the hearing. While the regular prosecutor of the court was on leave, the one deputed in his place did not appear before it when the matter was taken up.
It had said the case was over 21 years old in which 18 persons were facing trial and three of them have died while several others including Thungon are senior citizens. It had said the case has been taken up on priority basis in view of specific directions of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court relating to expeditious disposal of cases which are over five-year-old.
As per records, the case was lodged in 1996, a charge sheet was filed by CBI in 2003 and charges were framed in 2009. A total of 245 dates were fixed, of which 180 were for prosecution evidence. After this the court on May 31 this year directed that examination of remaining witnesses be done on day-to-day basis from July 17.
Thungon, the then Minister of State for Urban Affairs and Employment and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, along with others is facing trial for alleged irregularities in allotment of government quarters. A graft case was then lodged by the CBI against 18 persons.