A Delhi court on Saturday dismissed an application by Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy in the National Herald case in which the BJP leader had sought the court’s direction to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and others accused in the case to either admit or deny whether certain Income Tax-related documents filed by him were original.
The court also said that the way complainant is moving the application under 91 CrPC (summons to produce document) or for placing on record documents is “not” serving any purpose , but is in fact “delaying the trial”.
In January this year, Swamy had claimed that the Income Tax Department had recently imposed a fine of Rs 413 crore on Young Indian Pvt Ltd. He submitted “photocopies” of the assessment order and wanted the accused to admit or deny the documents.
The court did not take these documents on record.
On Saturday, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal said that barring a few, the documents Swamy wanted to get “admitted or denied” are not the ones he had filed before summoning of the accused people.
The court observed: “…In a complaint case, allegation made in the complaint and the evidence adduced to prove them, including documents, before summoning the accused is the foundation of the case…. Undisputedly, the documents filed along with the application under under Section 294 CrPC are all photostat copies and therefore inadmissible in evidence.”
The court noted that the prosecution can present new evidence at a later stage, but it has to pass the test of “relevancy and admissibility”.
ACMM Vishal also noted Swamy’s contention that these documents are of the accused themselves, as these were filed with the Special Leave Petition by one of the accused in Supreme Court.
“But this will not give a right to the complainant to get these copies mandatorily admitted or denied by the accused…the rules of evidence cannot be compromised with,” the court said. It then ruled that the application cannot be allowed.
The court also observed, “…In a criminal trial, once the stage of evidence has come, there is nothing like production of documents or placing of documents on records simplicitor, but the placing of documents on record has to be contemporaneous with the examination of witnesses to prove them legally. The trial has already delayed, as the first date for leading prosecution evidence was February 20, 2016, and till now the evidence has not started… This process of examining the witness, who will prove the documents, will start only after the evidence of complainant is over, and it is made clear that there will be no deviation from this procedure so that this trial can be brought to its conclusion expeditiously.”
According to court records, after the court took cognizance of the complainant, it summoned all accused in 2014. The case was fixed for pre-charge evidence on December 19, 2015 and Swamy filed two applications in 2016, which were allowed by the court and later set aside by the High Court. Subsequently a few applications were moved —- some dismissed and some kept for consideration, including admissibility or deniability of I-T documents in January 2018.