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HC vacates stay on arrest of 2 lawyers,law college vice-chief

CBI possesses 24 telephone call records,hotel bills paid by college

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Published: July 5, 2012 1:56:57 am

CBI possesses 24 telephone call records,hotel bills paid by college

In a jolt to two members,both lawyers,of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and a vice-chairman of a college of law,the Punjab and Haryana High Court today vacated the stay prevailing on their arrest for over a year. Dismissing the trio’s anticipatory bail applications,the High Court today cleared the hurdle in their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The three are facing corruption charges after the CBI had nailed them by recording their telephone conversations. On April 19,2011,the CBI had booked three persons — Bar Council of India member Rajender Singh Rana, BCI Assistant Trustee Daulat Ram Sharma and Vice-Chairman of a law college Moti Lal Jindal.

Rana and Sharma had reportedly demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh from Jindal for conducting the inspections in the college and for submitting favourable reports for the continuation of the three-year LLB and five-year BALLB courses. A CBI team had raided the college and seized documents relating to fees,enrollment and degrees.

The CBI had claimed that the three accused had hatched a conspiracy in November 2010. An FIR was lodged under Sections 7,12,13 (2),13 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988,at the CBI headquarters in Sector 30.

The CBI has in possession 24 calls exchanged between the three accused wherein the two members are allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh for submitting a favourable report confirming recognition to the law college.

According to the investigating agency,the two BCI members allegedly asked the law college vice-chairman to arrange for their stay at the time of inspection in a good hotel. The CBI produced bills of a hotel in Panchkula (Western Court) where the two BCI members had stayed.

Arguing on behalf of the CBI,Advocate Sumeet Goel contended that the bills of their (two members’) stay were paid by the college authorities.

Denying these allegations,senior lawyers R S Cheema and Rajiv Atma Ram,counsel for the accused,submitted that the bills were paid by the Bar Council of India.

In response,CBI Counsel Goel averred that the bills were initially paid by the college authorities and later the manager of the hotel was pressurised to issue antedated bills in the name of the Bar Council of India.

To testify on this,the statement of the manager of the hotel was also produced,wherein he had submitted that the hotel authorities were pressurised to issue antedated bills in the name of BCI. The defence lawyers denied the allegations,claiming that there was lack of evidence against the accused.

On May 6 last year a Special Court of the CBI,Panchkula,had dismissed anticipatory bail for the three accused. Aggrieved,the trio had moved the High Court which had ordered a stay on their arrest.

Two Judges of the High Court had also recused from hearing the case.

The stay prevailed for a year and was finally vacated today.

Dismissing the anticipatory bail applications of the three accused,the High Court has cleared the way for CBI to arrest them.

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