Delhi government’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, Deputy Secretary Tarun Sharma and three private citizens were sent to CBI custody for five days by a city court on Tuesday. The order was given after the probe agency told Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar that all five accused were required for custodial interrogation as there was “evidence surfacing which may even lead to charges of forgery and cheating being added.”
The CBI had sought 10-day custody of the accused, claiming that new evidence has been disclosed which is likely to lead to recovery of more evidence and the trail of money involved in the conspiracy.
The CBI also said the custodial interrogation of the accused were required because Kumar, as a senior public servant, had “intimidated witnesses” and there were”audio clips” as well as witness statements to show that the accused had been trying to intimidate various witnesses. The documents have been submitted in CD format to the court.
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The judge also asked the CBI that why it had arrested the accused even though the FIR had been filed in December. In his reply, the CBI counsel informed the court that the Rajendra Kumar, who is the Principal secretary to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had “intimidated the directors and employees of Endeavour systems Pvt ltd ( ESPL)” , making it “impossible for CBI to investigate.”
The agency has also alleged that the five accused- Kumar, Deputy secretary Tarun Sharma, ESPL directors Sandeep Kumar and Dinesh Gupta, and Ashok Kumar, were not cooperating in the investigation, and needed to be confronted with the conflicting statements given by their co-accused.
The CBI had in December registered an FIR for Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B of the IPC and sections relating to criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The courtroom also saw several heated arguments between the CBI and defence counsels, with AAP supporters breaking into applause as the counsel for one of the co-accused argued that the CBI was being used as a “Politically motivated tool” and not “the best probe agency”. The CBI counsels argued that the Delhi government had “created a media hype as if Rajendra Kumar was the sheshnag holding up the Delhi government on his head and if he goes the Delhi government will go.” Slogans of “down with CBI” were also chanted during arguments.
Criticising the “media hype” in the case, CBI Prosecutor VK Ojha argued that it was “a historical case in the Indian democracy where accused is a public servant sitting as a principal secretary and investigation must be done fairly.” Arguing that the “interference and intimidation” by the accused was making “fair investigation impossible”, the CBI counsel also said that “public servants come and go but the public institution needs to preserve it’s dignity.”
The five accused are now expected to be produced before the court on Sunday.