Experts divided over 'payment' diaries standing legal scrutiny

'Courts will not accept unknown diary entries as evidence'

Experts divided over 'payment' diaries standing legal scrutiny

Karnataka had almost become synonymous with illegal mining a few years ago. The multi-crore mining scam shook the then BJP government with many politicians ending up behind bars.

The state is again in the news for a wrong reason: Diaries reportedly maintained by state units of the Congress and the BJP on donations made to their respective high
command, have created political tremors at the national level.

The dairies, it is said, belong to Congress MLC K Govindaraj, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the chief minister and second-time BJP MLC Lahar Singh.

Now the big question is: whether entries of the payments reportedly mentioned in the diaries stand legal scrutiny? Legal experts are divided in their opinion in this regard.

While some believe that the diary entries do not carry any weight legally, others believe that the entries in the diary is proof enough to start a criminal investigation.

According to senior advocate C V Nagesh, the diary entries are nothing more than self-serving details and the law does not recognise them as evidence of any payment made.

“Some entries made in some unknown diaries cannot be taken as evidence. Unless such entries are made in proper account books, court will not accept them as evidence. Moreover, both of them (Govindaraj and Singh) have disowned the diaries,” he added.

But another senior advocate K V Dhananjay had a different view. Diary entries are enough to start a criminal investigation. Only investigation will reveal whether payment is really made or not. It can be proved by finding corroborative evidence like money trail and bank balance of persons who have made the payment and those who have received money. So the diary entries are an extremely serious issue, he added.

He also said the persons involved, Govindaraj and Lahar Singh, should  have filed an affidavit in court by now, declaring that the diary does not belong to them. They can also urge the court of law to stop those who are making those accusations and take action against them.

Former Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde said a thorough investigation has to be done to ascertain the fact. Normally I-T department takes signature of the accused while confiscating anything at the time of raid. The diary issue has exposed political parties. It is high time reforms are brought in in political funding, he added.

What former law ministers say...

The diary entries of Govindaraj have put a question mark on political funding. The entries clearly indicate money has changed hands. The election commission has raised a debate on political funding. One thing is very clear — whoever wants to retain their chair (ministership), they come under the ‘payment quota’ to survive. India’s oldest political party, the Congress, has many things to answer now. The BJP had been doubting the Congress government’s  intention to push hard for the Hebbal steel flyover. From the diary it is clear that Rs 65 crore is the kickback involved.
S Suresh Kumar

A piece of paper and jottings on it can’t serve as evidence to prove money transactions. The Supreme Court in the hawala case and Sahara case have clearly said that the entries in a diary can’t serve as evidence. The I-T department or the CBI can investigate provided there are people to admit that they gave money or recieved money. The Karnataka diary cases too can’t go to a logical end.
M C Nanaiah

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