New Delhi: Promoter of mobile company Micromax Rajesh Agarwal and six others, including four public servants, were Thursday remanded in CBI custody for seven days by a Delhi court in a bribery case.
Agarwal, co-founder and Director of Micromax Technologies Pvt Ltd, and his associate Manish Tuli, were arrested yesterday by CBI when they were allegedly giving bribe of Rs 30 lakh to the officials of North Delhi Municipal Corporation for regularisation of an unauthorised property.
Apart from them, North Delhi Municipal Corporation's three engineers--Satish Kumar, Naresh Kumar and Sanjay Kumar, junior engineer in DDA Rajesh Gupta and a private person Ashok Lamba were also arrested.
"Seven days police custody remand has been allowed," Special CBI Judge Poonam Bamba said and sent the seven accused in CBI's custody till August 14.
During the hearing, CBI sought seven days police custody of the accused to find out how many other government officials or persons were involved in the case.
The agency said their custody was required to unearth "the larger conspiracy".
"We need police custody to unearth the entire conspiracy between the accused and the unknown public servants," the CBI prosecutor said.
CBI told the court that Agarwal and Tuli were arrested while allegedly giving Rs 30 lakh bribe to the engineers of MCD to regularise the unauthorised construction of a banquet hall owned by Tuli. It also alleged that the DDA official was acting as a middleman.
The accused have been booked for the offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act including public servant taking illegal gratification and misusing official position.
CBI said FIR was registered on a source information that Agarwal and Tuli had entered into a deal with engineers of the civic body to get clearance for construction of the banquet hall in Wazirpur area in exchange of bribe of Rs 50 lakh.
CBI said that Agrawal and Tuli negotiated with the MCD officials and brought down the alleged bribe amount from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
The prosecutor told the court that during the probe and raids, Rs 1.1 crore had been recovered from the accused.
"From where this huge amount of over Rs one crore has come? We need police custody to know about this as well," the prosecutor contended.
During the arguments, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Agarwal, said this was a "clear cut case of extortion" and his client was a victim as money was extorted from him.
"At best, it is a case of extortion by public servants and I succumbed to that extortion bid," he said, adding that there was no abetment of crime on Agarwal's part.
"Public servants are demanding illegal gratification from me. How can CBI say that I was conspiring with them?" he said while opposing CBI's plea seeking seven days police custody of the accused.
He also said that CBI has not given any justification as to why it needs seven days custody of those arrested.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Tuli and DDA official Rajesh Gupta, also opposed CBI's plea, saying that as per the agency, they have been arrested from the spot while delivering the money. The alleged bribe amount has also been recovered so there is no need to send them in its custody, he submitted.
"Police custody is granted for effecting some recoveries and unearthing the conspiracy is part of CBI's job, so why they want police custody?" he argued.
Pahwa also said CBI cannot say that for conducting the probe, it needs police custody as an accused also has the constitutional right of silence. The other defence counsel also opposed CBI's plea.
The prosecutor, however, said that money was not extorted from Agarwal and the agency has complied with all formalities while arresting the accused.