Justice can't be purchased: SC to Chopper scam accused

The Supreme Court on Wednesday berated an accused in the AgustaWestland scam -- pertaining to buying of VVIP chopper -- for seeking long adjournment in a case related to the black money law.

"You want to avoid the bench. Justice can't be delayed like this. Justice can't be purchased like this," a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah told senior advocate P V Kapur, who was appearing for Gautam Khaitan.

The bench got very angry after Kapur sought time of four weeks to respond to a petition filed by the Union government against a Delhi High Court order staying applicability of the Black Money law prior to April 1, 2016.

On repeated tendering of apology by the counsel, the bench said at least senior advocate should not behave like this and show their bona fide.

The top court had on May 21 stayed the high court's order.

On Wednesday, the top court observed, "It was an extra-ordinary order by the HC. It was a totally improper order."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the high court had stayed the rules on the applicability of the Black Money law. He said since it would have all India ramifications, it was better that the apex court heard the matter.

The bench, which was initially in favour of letting the high court decide the matter, agreed to consider it on Wednesday, September 18.

The court directed Khaitan to file his reply by Tuesday.

The high court had on May 16 passed its interim order restraining the government and the Income Tax department from taking further action against advocate Khaitan in Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

Khaitan had contended the Centre's notification stating the Act would come into force since July 1, 2015, instead of April 1, 2016, was ultra vires of the Act.

It was alleged that Khaitan, an accused in the VVIP chopper deal scam, had deposited Rs 6,000 crore in offshore accounts.

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