CBI fails to locate missing land scam documents

Unable to trace missing documents in the multicrore rupees Molarband land grabbing scam, CBI sought the trial of the case but a Delhi court rejected the plea.

Updated: Aug 21, 2012, 14:26 PM IST

New Delhi: Unable to trace missing documents in the multicrore rupees Molarband land grabbing scam, the CBI sought the trial of the case on basis of remaining documents but a Delhi court rejected the plea terming it as "attempt to bury" the case.

Having failed to trace the missing documents and statement of witnesses in one of the 16 cases registered in the land scam, the agency told Special CBI Judge A K Mendiratta that the trial be proceeded on the basis of available documents.

The court dismissed the plea saying it is a "half-hearted attempt by the prosecution to bury the proceedings."

The judge said, "The court cannot be a mute spectator and a mere umpire to wait endlessly. The case clearly reflects malafide exercise whereby the crucial documents/ statements of the witnesses have been lost and not placed on record by the prosecution".

The case pertains to one of the 16 charge sheets filed by the CBI in different illegal allotments of 160 plots at Molarband phase II in June 2004.

There are a total of 64 witnesses and 237 documents in this case. The statement of only one witness and 230 documents, however, have been traced by the CBI.

Besides the former cholle bhature vendor Ashok Malhotra,
the other accused are erstwhile MCD officials S N S Sidhu, Phillip Toppo, Sumer Chand Garg, Bhuvneshwar Singh and Atul Vashisth, besides private citizens Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Ram Chander Arora, Lal Mani, Sher Singh, Nanak Chand Khandelwal and businessman Ashok Jain.

The court had asked the CBI to trace the missing documents in 2011.

The CBI, however, has now informed the court that of the 237 documents, 230 have been traced while statements of all 64 witnesses except that of one along with the case dairies from August 29, 2007 to September 4, 2007 could not be found and it urged that trial be proceeded on basis of available material.

"Unfortunately, the prosecution despite the passage of considerable time and orders passed by this court has been unable to trace the remaining missing documents and the statement of witnesses recorded during investigation.

"Neither any FIR has been registered by the CBI qua the missing documents, nor any step has been taken to explore the possibility of reconstruction of the documents by way of further investigation," the court said.

Noting that fresh probe for reconstruction of missing documents cannot be directed by a trial court once the cognisance of the charge sheet has been taken, the judge said the CBI may obtain requisite orders from the high court "to ensure proceedings are taken to its logical end" and also directed that an FIR be lodged for the missing documents.