Dismissing the petition filed by its own former judge Nirmal Yadav, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday refused to stay the trial in the special CBI court at Chandigarh for framing of charges in the Rs 15-lakh cash-at-judge's-door case of 2008, in which Yadav is one of the accused.
The special CBI court had summoned Yadav and other accused in the case for framing of charges against them on November 26. Following which Yadav had approached the high court seeking stay on trial court's order.
The court headed by justice Naresh Kumar Sanghi said, "Since framing of charges have already been ordered, now it's simply a formality to frame charges. Unfortunately the trial court judge did not frame charges on same day and it has been delayed."
The court was not convinced with the arguments raised by Yadav's counsel, SK Garg, as to how the petitioner could come out of the Supreme Court judgment passed in "Satya Narayan Sharma Vs State of Rajasthan" case in 2001. The Supreme Court had ordered, "In cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act there can be no stay of trials."
After the arguments that stretched for an hour, when Garg finally requested the court, "Please grant us two weeks' time at least to approach the Supreme Court", the court refused and said, "Approach the trial court."
Admission of revision petition
During the course of arguments Garg referred to Yadav's earlier revision petition that the court had on September 13 admitted for hearing within three months. He contended, "Once the high court had found that there is prima facie case in favour of petitioner then only it (court) had admitted the case."
Replying to this, justice Sanghi said, "Admitting of petition does not mean that I have accepted whatever you have mentioned (in petition). When you filed revision petition, at the time of admission also stay prayer was considered."
Contempt notice to CBI
Garg also took the court through the "notice of criminal contempt" issued by Yadav to Anupam Gupta, CBI's special public prosecutor; Ranjit Sinha, CBI director; Meenu Chaudhary and Vipin Kumar, superintendent of police and inspector in Anti Corruption Unit at Delhi, respectively, in September about the press statement released to the media by Gupta.
As per Yadav's notice, CBI's special public prosecutor's "extra ordinary and contemptuous outburst was highly unwarranted once the matter is sub judice" and "the comments are scandalous" and "obstruct administration of justice."
Garg submitted, "The CBI director (in reply) said it was not our statement. The counsel (Gupta) made the statement on his own."
When the counsel requested the bench to also issue criminal contempt notice to the CBI counsel, justice Sanghi said, "We are not going to take peripheral issues to circumvent the main issue. Even a correspondent dared to give a call to me about my comments. I don't want to go into these issues."