The Delhi High Court has upheld a trial court order allowing the CBI to place on record two CDs containing purported telephonic conversations intercepted during its probe in the cash-for-post bribery case in the railways. The case allegedly involves former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and others. Besides Singla, the other accused facing trial in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case are Mahesh Kumar, then Member (Staff) of Railway Board, Managing Director of Bangalore-based G G Tronics India N R Manjunath, alleged middlemen Ajay Garg and Sandeep Goyal, besides co-accused Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C V Venugopal and M V Murali Krishan.
Justice S P Garg dismissed the petition moved by one of the 10 accused, Sameer Sandhir, who had challenged the trial court’s special judge February 2016 order, by which it had allowed the CBI’s plea to place on record the CDs. “Prima facie, there is sufficient material on record to infer that both these CDs are relevant and can be produced as evidence during trial as per law. “I find no illegality or material irregularity in the order (of a trial court). The petition lacks in merits and is dismissed,” the court said.
It also noted in its order that the prosecution is not expected to prove their authenticity and genuineness beyond reasonable doubt at this stage, merely because the CDs were filed at belated a stage, that is after the filing of the charge-sheet and the supplementary charge-sheet. The CBI had moved the application before a trial court to place on record the CDs containing the purported telephonic conversation in pursuance to May 2015 order by the high court.
The high court had directed the trial court to permit the agency to file appropriate application to bring on record the sealed CDs and decide whether these can be brought on record during the recording of evidence and under which provision of law. During the arguments on the CBI’s plea, all the 10 accused facing trial, opposed it contending there was no provision in the CrPC permitting the agency to bring on record the CDs which it did not deposit while filing charge sheets.
The CBI, however, had said they had no intention to conceal the CDs and it was an inadvertent mistake that these were not placed in the court earlier.
The trial court had framed charges against the accused of alleged offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
While ordering framing of charges, the court had observed that the accused had prima facie entered into a conspiracy to get Kumar appointed as Member (Electrical) in Railway Board and Singla was to be paid Rs 10 crore as illegal gratification for it. According to the CBI, Singla had allegedly demanded Rs 10 crore from Kumar for his appointment to the post of Member (Electrical) and it was decided between the accused that Rs 5 crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest after the job was done.