2017 RS Polls: Gujarat HC slaps Rs 5,000 on Ahmed Patel

2017 RS Polls: Gujarat HC slaps Rs 5,000 on Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel

The Gujarat High Court on Monday slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel for filing "vexatious application" in the ongoing trial of election petition moved by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging former's 2017 Rajya Sabha victory.

The court while rejecting the application seeking permission to produce a compact disc (CD) containing statements of Congress MLAs said that "this is nothing but the misuse of process of law at the instance of the respondent No 1 (Ahmed Patel)..." 

Justice Bela Trivedi passed this order while rejecting the plea of Patel that had sought permission to produce evidence in the form of a pen drive that contains statements of state Congress MLAs. The pen drive has video footage and transcript of several MLAs' statement recorded at Eagleton resort, Bengaluru.

Days before the Rajya Sabha polls, Gujarat Congress had taken 44 of its MLAs to this resort fearing poaching by the BJP. In the footage, Congress has claimed that at the resort a training camp had been organised which was coordinated by Suresh Sharma of Jawaharlal Nehru Leadership Institute.

Justice Trivedi refused to entertain the application while noting that a similar plea had been moved on July 5 which she had rejected.

According to the order, on July 19, an affidavit in lieu of examination-in-chief of the witness Rajendrasinh Parmar, Congress MLA, was sought to be tendered containing the video footage. Following objections, the court has ordered that evidentiary value of that footage will not be counted. The order states that again on Monday, advocate PS Champaneri, filed a separate application on behalf of Ahmed Patel, seeking permission to produce the same CD as evidence since Rohan Gupta, another Congress leader, is deposing as a witness and he is the one who had recorded the video footage.

The court while rejecting the application stated, "this is nothing but the misuse of process of law at the instance of the respondent No.1... Such vexatious application also deserves to be rejected with cost. Hence for the reasons stated in the order passed by the Court on 05.07.2019, the application at Exh. 219 is rejected with cost of Rs.5,000/- to be deposited by the respondent No.1 in the Court..."  

Justice Trivedi has also opined that when Patel himself was examined in the court and even in the affidavit he never mentioned about this CD. The court stated that "it is very pertinent to note that any witness cannot be permitted to produce any document  during the course of  his examination-­in-­chief, which document was neither referred to, nor relied upon by the respondent No.1 in his pleadings or evidence."