New Delhi: Modifying a trial court order, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the Investigating officer and the Public Prosecutor can interview the prosecution witnesses "before hand" in the Commonwealth Games-related graft case involving sacked Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.
Justice Kailash Gambhir said, "The order is modified to the extent that the duo can interview the prosecution witnesses before hand."
The court modified the trial court`s March 14 order which had barred both Investigating Officer (IO) and Public Prosecutor (PP) from having access to the prosecution witnesses who are yet to be examined.
The court also issued notices to Kalmadi and other accused in the case and sought their replies by July 12 on the CBI`s plea challenging the special court`s order.
During arguments, CBI Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan cited a Supreme Court ruling and said that PPs have the right to interview the witnesses to know what stand they have to adopt while recording of their statement.
He also said that "by this order the (trial) court is facilitating witnesses to turn hostile."
In its plea, CBI informed the high court that so far 10 out of 64 prosecution witnesses have been examined in the day-to-day trial of the case.
Kalmadi`s counsel, however, argued that trial court had questioned the conduct of PP and alleged that some witnesses were seen in the company of IO and PP in the court on the date of their examination.
On March 14, the Special CBI court which is conducting trial in the Timing, Scoring and Result System (TSR) scam, had in its order restrained the IO and PP from having access to the witnesses till the conclusion of their examination.
Kalmadi is facing trial on the charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and other offences under the IPC and also for alleged criminal misconduct by public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
Kalmadi, who was sacked as CWG Organising Committee(OC) chairman, and the other accused, including OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot are accused of "illegally" awarding a contract to install TSR system for the 2010 CWG to Swiss Timing at inflated rates causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.
Besides Kalmadi and Bhanot, other accused in the case are OC`s former Director General V K Verma, former Director General (Procurement) Surjit Lal, former Joint Director General (Sports) A S V Prasad and former Treasurer M Jayachandran. They are no more associated with the sports body.
Apart from the six, promoters of two construction firms -P D Arya and A K Madan of Faridabad-based Gem International and A K Reddy of Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions are also accused in the case.
AKR Constructions and Swiss Timing are also an accused in the case.