The Delhi High Court on Tuesday exempted CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma from personal appearance before a trial court in connection with a probe in a case of payment of alleged kickbacks by a Russian firm for a Rs 2,066-crore NTPC contract. Justice S P Garg also exempted Verma from replying to a show cause notice issued to him by a trial court on February 9. The court, however, refused to exempt a senior agency official and the investigating officer, who were issued show cause notice by the trial court seeking their presence to explain why its direction to probe the case had not been complied with.
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The trial court had sought the presence of all officials over the failure of its direction to further probe in a case.
Challenging the trial court’s February 9 order, the agency submitted before the high court that the trial court’s order have been complied with and it is not that no steps have been taken in the case.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain and CBI’s additional standing counsel Rajdeep Behura submitted before the court that the finding of the trial court was “erroneous” and the order sheet was “vitiated” with “wrong recording.
“The magistrate cannot compel the police to investigate the matter in the manner they want. We have already filed a closure report in this case. So it cannot be said that we have not probed into the matter,” the ASG said. To this, the judge said, “I exempt the CBI Director from personal appearance before the trial court. I am listing this matter for February 28 by when the CBI should file affidavit stating that you have complied with the trial court’s order.” ASG said they have no issue in doing so. He also urged the court to stay the proceedings before the trial court.
The court, however, was not inclined to do so and asked the CBI to file their affidavit.
While asking the CBI director to supervise further probe in the case, the trial court in September last year had refused to accept the charge sheet filed by agency. It had said that the agency has tried to “save” senior officers of NTPC and members of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure of the central government.
According to CBI, from 2002 to 2005, some NTPC officials had obtained illegal gratification in award of super thermal power contract at Barh in Bihar.