98-year-old Sheila Kaul told to appear in court



New Delhi: A Delhi court has directed 98-year-old former union minister Sheila Kaul to appear before it May 23 in a graft case, saying that the law does not prescribe any immunity for elderly accused.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Pradeep Chaddah Wednesday said: "Unfortunately for her, the law does not prescribe any immunity for aged people."

The court added that Kaul might be quite old but there was no way out and directed her to appear before it May 23 for passing the order on framing of charges.

Kaul had sought exemption from personal appearance on medical grounds.

The court was hearing a graft case against Kaul and her ex-additional private secretary Rajan Lala and former private assistant R.K. Sharma.

The court in February found prima facie evidence against Kaul and the other two under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and penal provisions for criminal conspiracy.

According to the prosecution, Kaul and her two aides entered into a conspiracy to allot government accommodation on receiving illegal gratification in 1996.

The court took note of her medical report and said: "It becomes clear that accused Sheila Kaul is capable of understanding questions put to her and giving appropriate answers, though the questions might have to be repeated."

The court April 9 asked All India Institute of Medical Sciences director to constitute a medical board to examine the Congress leader.

"She (Kaul) may attend the court in the same manner as she visited AIIMS. She is to answer the charge to be framed against her and let the matter proceed," the court said.

IANS