HC upholds charges against Tytler, Verma in corruption case

HC upholds charges against Tytler, Verma in corruption case
The Delhi High Court today upheld the charges framed by a trial court against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and controversial businessman Abhishek Verma in a corruption case.

The high court dismissed the petitions of Tytler and Verma, an alleged arms dealer, challenging the trial court's order putting them on trial in the case for allegedly using a forged letter, typed on the letter head of the then Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken and addressed to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.

Justice Ashutosh Kumar said it appeared that the trial court has come to the conclusion that the offences for which the two accused have been charged are "prima facie made out for trial".

It noted that after framing of the charge, 13 prosecution witnesses have already been examined before the trial court.

"Considering the facts, this court is of the view that the prosecution of the petitioner ought not to be thwarted at this stage. No case for interference has been made out on behalf of the petitioner. The petition is thus dismissed," the bench said.

The trial court had framed charges against Tytler, who is out on bail, for alleged offences under various sections of the IPC including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act dealing with taking gratification by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant.

Verma, who is also on bail, was put on trial for alleged offences under sections 120-B read with 420, 471, 511 (attempt to commit an offence) of IPC and under section 8 of PC Act. If convicted the offences entail a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment.

The high court made it clear that any opinion expressed in this order should not be construed prejudicially against Tytler and Verma or asopinion on the merits of the case. The trial court shall come to its own findings in consonance with law, the high court said. The two had sought setting aside of the trial court's December 9, 2015 order.

The trial court had framed charges against Tytler and Verma while observing that it was evident that the former had full knowledge of the nature and purpose of transaction being entered into between Verma and officials of M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd.

The court had said prima facie, both the accused had tried to cheat the officials of ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd on the basis of the forged letter and Verma had demanded bribe of Rs 50 lakh to sort out the visa issue of their employees.

CBI had chargesheeted both the accused alleging that M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd was adversely affected by the order in which it was said that all foreigners, who were already in India on business visas and engaged in executing projects or contracts, should leave the country on expiry of their existing visas or by October 31, 2009, whichever was earlier.

It had also alleged that a meeting took place at Tytler's residence where Verma and the firm's officials were present.

At another meeting, the purported forged letter of then minister Ajay Maken, addressed to the Prime Minister, was shown to make them believe that the visa problem was being sorted out through them, the CBI had alleged.
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