Land scam: CBI chief exempted from appearance

The Delhi High Court today stayed an order of a lower court asking the CBI director to personally appear before it for land scam case.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today stayed
an order of a lower court asking the CBI director to
personally appear before it to explain disappearance of some
documents pertaining to the sensational multi-crore rupees
Molarband and Dheerpur land scam case.

"Instead of the CBI Director, the DIG (Joint Director of
CBI) shall appear in person before the trial court to explain
the things. The trial court order is modified to that extent,"
Justice Suresh Kait said.

Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha, appearing for
the CBI, said, "We will do our best to ensure that CBI shall
render complete assistance/documents to the trial court
concerned. It will be difficult for the Director of the CBI to
personally appear as he has to oversee the entire functioning
of the agency."

Allowing the contentions of the agency, Justice Kait
said, "In my opinion the presence of the joint director before
the trial court would be proper."

The CBI had yesterday moved the high court seeking a stay
on the order of a Special CBI Judge asking the director of the
agency to personally appear before him on Thursday.

Earlier, a court of Special CBI Judge had issued summons
asking the CBI Director to appear and explain as to how some
crucial documents in the land scam, involving food vendor
Ashok Malhotra as accused, went missing.

The lower court had sought explanation from the CBI
Director as to why the fact regarding missing documents was

DV The case pertains to Delhi Vidhan Sabha canteen`s former
contractor Ashok Malhotra, who was arrested in 2007 along with
MCD and DDA officials for conspiring to acquire plots meant
for resettlement of slum dwellers and subsequently selling
them at exorbitant rates.

The fact of missing documents had come to the court`s
notice on November 28, 2011 when it was told that documents
and statements could not be filed as the investigating officer
(IO) of the case, D K Thakur, was arrested in another case.
CBI had also said the case record was not handed over by
Thakur to any other IO and the documents relied upon could not
be recovered from his almirah.

Malhotra was arrested on August 6, 2007 for allegedly
conspiring with DDA officials to fraudulently acquire plots,
meant for resettlement of slum dwellers between 2000 and 2002.

Besides Malhotra, the CBI had also charge sheeted S N S
Sidhu, Phillip Toppo, Sumer Chand Garg -- all deputy directors
of MCD and canteen manager Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Ram Chander
Arora, Lal Mani, Sher Singh, Nanak Chand Khandelwal,
businessman Ashok Jain and MCD clerk Atul Vashisth.

They are all charged with sections 120-B (criminal
conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of a valuable
security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471
(using a forged document as genuine) of the IPC and relevant
sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.