The CBI special court had summoned 20 accused in the provident fund scam case Thursday. The CBI counsel demanded non-bailable warrant against the absent judges.
The special CBI court, however, reserved its decision on exempting retired judges from appearing in the court. ‘As the court proceedings have taken place during strike in the court no decisive order can be passed today. The decision on exemption of the presence of judges along with the CBI’s request of penalising absentees will be taken on Jan 31 which is the next date of hearing,’ CBI special judge A.K. Singh said in his order.
As the proceedings in the provident fund scam case started at 11 a.m., the representatives and counsels of six accused retired judges started filing applications and medical certificates in the special court. Nandit Srivastava, advocate of R.P. Mishra, Ajai Kumar Singh and Arun Kumar told the court that the accused were not able to mark their presence in the court due to medical conditions.
In the application submitted by Srivastava, R.P. Mishra claimed that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and could not appear before the court. Retired judge Ajai Kumar Singh said his wife Anita Singh is critically ill and as he is the only member who can take care of her and his absence in court should not be treated as an offence and he should not be penalised. Arun Kumar had given a medical certificate stating that he is down with viral fever.
Judge R.N. Mishra, in his medical certificate, stated that he is suffering from severe spondilitis, especially in his upper limbs. Retired judge R.P. Yadav’s counsel too submitted his medical certificate like others. Counsel of R.S. Chaubey, Ajay Choudhary, urged that the retired judge was 63 years old and would like his counsel to represent him in the case.
According to Chaudhary, all the retired accused judges except R.P. Yadav, have submitted a revision petition in the Allahabad High court. ‘The accused have argued that the special court itself is a witness in the scam case and therefore should not be allowed to hear the case. The date of hearing in the revision petitions is Jan 18,’ informed Chaudhary.
Non bailable warrants against three accused Shravan Kumar, Lokesh Kumar – peons in the court – and Jaya Asthana, sister of Ashutosh Asthana were re-issued.
When asked for CBI counsel, V.K. Sharma’s opinion on the application by the court, Sharma contested that the retired judges were served summons well in advance and they all had received the summons. ‘None of the judge then came forward and put an objection of not being present in person before the court. Today, all of the accused submitted their medical certificates, The permission of allowing the counsels to represent them in court without the retired judges presence should not be accepted. We demand non bailable warrant against them,’ said Sharma to the court.
The CBI counsel also said that grant of exemption from appearing before the court was at the discretion of the court. ‘But we want the retired judges to be present when charges are levelled against them and they are not eligible for exemption,’ added S.S. Islam, senior public prosecutor.