‘Satyam’s Raju did not fudge accounts, only did window dressing’

The Supreme Court Wednesday was told that the alleged fudging of accounts by the former chairman of Satyam Computer Services Limited B. Ramalinga Raju was only “window dressing”.

The apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma was told this by senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi while opposing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeal seeking the cancellation of bail granted to the former Satyam chief, his brother Rama Raju and other accused by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

The senior counsel told the court that no case for the cancellation of bail could be made out against Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju and others as there was no instance of abuse of bail conditionality by his clients.

Rohtagi told the court that “law leans in favour of liberty. Bail is never denied as punishment”.

Earlier appearing for Raju brothers and others, senior counsel Ashok Desai said that there were 693 witnesses and 1.60 lakh pages evidence in the matter.

He told the court that by no reasonable estimation the trial in the case would be competed within six months as being claimed by the CBI.

Referring to the way trials proceed in subordinate courts, Desai said that it would take years before the trial in the case was likely to be completed.

However, when Desai said that Satyam has once again regained its standing and was flourishing, Justice Verma said: “This is not because of you. But a formidable entity has taken over its operations”.

Earlier, the court pulled up the CBI for not filing an affidavit stating specific instances of violation of bail conditions by the Ramalinga Raju, Rama Raju and others.

The court told Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal that the investigating agency was accusing the respondents (Raju brothers and others) of violating bail conditions by tampering with the evidence and influencing the witnesses but where was the affidavit stating all the instances in support of its allegation.

Subsequently, Rawal filed the affidavit when the court reassembled after lunch break.

VHP not ready to give away any part of Ayodhya land

Rejecting the Ayodhya verdict of the Allahabad High Court, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Wednesday demanded not only the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot where the Babri Masjid once stood, but also the over 67 acres of land nearby acquired by the central government.

‘We are not ready to part with any bit of land in or around the disputed Ayodhya land, where we wish to erect a grand temple to mark the birthplace of Lord Ram,’ VHP supremo Ashok Singhal said at a press conference here Wednesday afternoon.

He also ruled out the possibility of allowing construction of a mosque in any corner of the entire acquired land. ‘If Muslims wish to build a mosque, let them do it outside the limits of the acquired land,’ Singhal said.

He was speaking after a day-long meeting of the VHP’s central committee of seers, who debated the court verdict.

A three-judge special bench of the high court had ordered division of the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot of land where the Babri Masjid once stood into three equal parts – one to Ram Lalla, one to Hindu sect Nirmohi Akhara and one to the Sunni Central Waqf Board.

Claiming that 45 acres of the acquired land actually belonged to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas (trust), Singhal said: ‘I see no reason why the central government cannot make a smooth transfer of the 45 acres of acquired land back to its original owner, that was the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.’

He said the remaining acquired land too could be formally given to the Nyas for construction of the proposed Ram temple.

Singhal proposed to lead a delegation of Hindu seers to Prime minister Manmohan Singh with a formal request in this regard.

‘I will take a delegation to the prime minister and urge him to hand over the entire 70 acres acquired by the central government way back in the 1990s (after the demolition of the mosque),’ he said.

The VHP was not a direct party to the court case, but chose to throw its weight behind the deity Ram Lalla, a party to the Ayodhya title suit, to whom the court gave one-third of the disputed land.

‘We will urge the deity of Ram (represented by a friend) to file an appeal against the high court order, that had given away one-third of the property to Muslims,’ he said.

‘There was no dispute about the fact that entire Ayodhya was owned by (mythological king) Raja Dashrath, the father of Ram, and the birthplace of Ram was a part of the raja’s palace, so there was no question of parting with any piece of land in that area,’ Singhal said.

He said there seemed no possibility of any out-of-court settlement on the issue unless Muslims completely give up their claim to any portion of the land.

When his attention was drawn to the dispute that the VHP was running even with the Nirmohi Akhara, a rival Hindu party in the case which has been entrusted with one-third of the disputed property, Singhal said: ‘Now that the high court has given the main part of the disputed land to Lord Ram’s deity, it is by implication that the entire land would belong to him.’

However, Jagadguru Madhavacharya, the head of the Udupi peeth in Karnataka, who was also accompanying Singhal, said: ‘We will try and make the Nirmohi Akhara understand that after all we were both fighting for a common cause and our ultimate goal was to see a grand Ram temple come up at the birthplace of the lord.’

Asked about the possibility of a compromise formula, Singhal said: ‘We are not against compromise, but as far as we are concerned we do not have any such formula to offer on our own.’

‘However, we are open to considering any such formula if it were to be proposed by the other party, provided it were to uphold the dignity of Lord Ram as also the sentiments of millions of Hindus,’ said the VHP chief.

Few isolated incidents in marriage not cruelty: Apex court

The Supreme Court Friday said married life should be assessed as a whole and few isolated incidents over a period of time would not amount to cruelty.

“Sustained unjustifiable and reprehensible conduct affecting physical and mental health of the other spouse may lead to mental cruelty,” said a bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan in their judgment.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Sathasivam said that the ill-conduct amounting to mental cruelty must be for a fairly lengthy period, thereby deteriorating the relationship to an extent where one of the spouse finds it extremely difficult to live with the other.

The order case as the court dismissed the appeal of Gurbux Singh who has accused his estranged wife Harminder Kaur of being cruel and disrespectful towards his aging parents and sought a divorce.

Both were married Nov 23, 1997 and had a tiff on their first ‘Lohri’ (Punjabi festival heralding end of winter) in January 1998 when Harminder Kaur allegedly used filthy language for her in-laws.

The couple had a child May 15, 1999 but May 10, 2002, Harminder walked out of her matrimonial house and never came back. She, in turn, accused Gurbux of being greedy and a regular drinker who used to beat her on trivial issues.

“Making certain statements on the spur of the moment and expressing certain displeasure about the behaviour of elders may not be characterized as cruelty,” the judgment said.

Justice Sathasivam said: “Mere trivial irritations, quarrels, normal wear and tear of married life which happens in day to day life in all families would not be adequate for grant of divorce on the ground of cruelty”.

“An isolated friction on some occasion like festival of Lohri even in the presence of others cannot be a valid ground for dissolving the marriage.”

Earlier, Gurbux Singh’s plea for divorce was rejected by the Amritsar additional district judge and subsequently by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On the question of law, the judgment said that Gurbux has sought dissolution of marriage under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and in the petition, he only talks about the cruelty being meted out to him and his parents. It noted that cruelty has not been defined in the law and an act which might be cruel in one instance may not be so in another.

Thus, there could be no presumption that a certain act would be cruel in all circumstances, it said.

“We have verified all the averments in the petitions, reply statements, written submissions as well as the evidence of both parties. We are satisfied that on the basis of such instances, the marriage cannot be dissolved,” the judgment said.