HC rejects plea against IOs' presence in court during 2G trial

HC rejects plea against IOs' presence in court during 2G trial

A plea by two 2G case accused challenging the presence of the CBI investigating officers in the court room during the trial of the case was today dismissed by the Delhi High Court.

"Both the petitions are dismissed," said Justice M L Mehta, dismissing the pleas for the high court's directions to restrain the CBI IOs from attending the lower court proceedings in the 2G case.

Justice Mehta said no prejudice would be caused to the accused by the presence of the IO in the trial court.

"I fail to appreciate as to how any witness would be in fear or under pressure by the presence of the IO in the court room.

"Mere presence of the IO as such in the court room at the time of recording of deposition of any other witness would not be a ground to say that the prejudice would be caused to the accused or the trial to be not fair," Justice Mehta said.

The court rejected the petitions of Asif Balwa and Rajeev Aggarwal, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Limited, opposing the presence of the IOs in the court room during the trial.

The accused had moved the high court challenging the trial court's order dismissing their objections to the presence of CBI officers Vivek Priyadarshi and Rajesh Chahal in the court room during deposition by other witnesses.

The CBI, however, had cited the apex court rulings and claimed that the presence of IO is required during the trial in high-profile cases.

Appearing for the accused, counsel Vijay Aggarwal had argued that the IO had called the prosecution witnesses days before their deposition in the court and allegedly tutored them.

Citing the statement of a prosecution witness, Aggarwal had alleged the IO called up the witness several times on his mobile to brief him.

The accused had earlier sought direction to the CBI from the special judge to refrain from interfering with the witnesses in a "suspicious manner" before their deposition.

They had raised the objection when a Reliance ADA Group official, a prosecution witness, had made this statement in the court that he was called by the CBI to its office in a "suspicious manner" two days before commencement of the trial in the case on November 11 last year.

The accused had said it was "not fair in the eyes of the law" that CBI was calling witnesses to its office on the pretext of refreshing their memory.

Asif Balwa and Rajeev Aggarwal are accused of routing and facilitating an alleged bribe of 200 crore from DB Realty Group to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, in which co-accused DMK MP Kanimozhi is a shareholder.