The trial in the infamous cash-at-judge's door scam, in which justice Nirmal Yadav has been named as accused, commenced on Saturday with the defence challenging the "veracity" of the daily diary reports (DDR) registered on August 13, 2008.
CBI special judge, Vimal Kumar recorded the statements of the witnesses in the graft case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in August 2008 under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in which justice Yadav has been named as accused along with Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh, Sanjiv Bansal, former additional advocate general of Haryana; Rajiv Gupta, a Chandigarh-based businessman; and one Nirmal Singh.
The CBI special judge recorded the statements of the witnesses, including two UT police personnel, and complainant Amrik Singh, peon in the camp office of justice Nirmaljit Kaur, who had lodged the complaint at the Sector 11 police station.
Challenging the authenticity of the DDRs recorded on August 13, defence counsels examined two witnesses - head constables Bahadur Singh and Satyabir Singh, posted at Sector 11, who wrote the DDR.
The defence counsels submitted before the court that the documents placed on record by the CBI, including the DDRs, are not admissible by the court as they are carbon copies and not the original DDRs. The two witnesses - Bahadur and Satyabir who were examined on Saturday to prove the DDR - have claimed that the originals have been destroyed.
"We have challenged the authenticity of the DDRs, which do not bear the signatures of the person who has made the entries, which have been admitted by the witnesses," said advocate BS Riar, defence counsel representing Sanjeev Bansal.
"The police have not proceeded in accordance to the law and these DDRs are not admissible as per the Evidence Act as they are mere carbon copies and not the original ones," said advocate Sumesh Jain, appearing for accused Rajiv Gupta.
However, CBI special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta submitted that, "Bahadur and Satyabir are formal witnesses who have proved DDRs."
The case would now come up for hearing on April 12, when the court would complete recording the statement of Amrik Singh.
Amrik Singh, a peon in the camp office of Punjab and Haryana high court judge Nirmaljit Kaur, said on August 13, 2008, at 8.30 pm, Prakash Ram, 'munshi' of former Haryana AAG Sanjeev Bansal, had come to the house of justice Nirmaljit and handed over a parcel containing currency notes (`15 lakh). He said Prakash Ram had told him that the bag had some papers from Delhi.
Amrik took the plastic bag inside and opened it on justice Nirmaljit Kaur's directions and found currency notes. On being directed by the judge, Amrik nabbed Prakash Ram with the help of guard Gurvinder Singh, and the local police were called to detain Prakash Ram.
The case had made headlines after `15 lakh were delivered wrongly at the residence of justice Nirmaljit Kaur, a Punjab and Haryana high court judge, on August 13, 2008, following which she reported the matter to the Chandigarh Police. The investigations were subsequently handed over to the CBI. The investigations then revealed that the money was meant for justice Nirmal Yadav.