A Delhi court pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while hearing a corruption case related to former Delhi High Court judge Shameet Mukherjee, after the agency produced the photocopy of a case document instead of the original.
Special Judge Pulastya Pramchanda said, “I do find a serious need for overhauling of the system by senior officers concerned, so as to put a check over such irresponsible and ignorant attitude of the prosecution, which has the only effect, that is, to complete a formality without any gain for prosecution and to waste the precious time of the court.”
The court said its order will be given to the director of prosecution and the CBI joint director to ensure sufficient remedial measures.
Mukherjee was arrested by the CBI for his alleged involvement in a criminal conspiracy in the 2003 DDA case scam.
As per the investigating agency, Mukherjee allegedly favoured restaurant owner Vinod Khatri in the Azad Singh vs DDA case, by handing over a draft judgment to him via a middleman.
The case related to the widening of Aruna Asaf Ali Road in the national capital.
Special Judge Pramchanda summoned a prosecution witness, Ramesh Chandra Joshi, who appeared before the court. As per the CBI’s case, Joshi had furnished a copy of his ration card and signed an application form for obtaining a mobile phone number/connection from Airtel.
The witness was supposed to be confronted with the application form.
However the CBI prosecutor, Mohd Fareed, informed the court that a photocopy of the application form was on record, which has been marked during the examination of a previous witness.
When the court asked for the original application, the CBI counsel informed that “since the document had been marked, therefore, no steps were taken to seek production of original application form”.
The judge replied such a submission was “shocking for me, because just putting mark on a document does not mean that such document stands proved and this is the basic principle of law of evidence, which is expected to be within knowledge of any prosecutor”.
The judge added, “I have been requesting the prosecutors time and again to check the record before examination of any witness in advance, so as to make all necessary arrangements in advance. I fail to understand that how in absence of original application form, prosecution/CBI is going to achieve their expected objectives qua this witness”.
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