The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the AAP government on a CBI plea challenging a special court order directing the agency to return some of the documents seized during a raid at the offices of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The high court, however, refrained from passing any interim order after senior counsel Dayan Krishnan appearing for the Delhi government opposed the plea saying it had not been heard.
Posting the matter for further hearing on January 25, Justice PS Teji sought a response from Kumar on the agency’s plea seeking quashing of the special court’s Wednesday order.
In its plea, the CBI said the special court failed to appreciate that the Delhi government obtained attested photocopies of the documents seized and thus the order to return them was “wholly misconceived”.
“The seized documents in question are crucial and vital as evidence to prove and establish beyond all shades of doubt, the unholy nexus between the accused persons and throw light on the allegation of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct,” the petition filed through the CBI’s standing counsel Sonia Mathur said.
The petition said “many relevant witnesses are yet to be examined in light of the documents in question” and the special court order “has given undue advantage to the Delhi government”.
“Any disclosure of evidence collected so far to any person, whether accused or a non party i.e. Delhi government in the instant case, would have prejudiced the larger interest of the justice and fair investigation,” it added.
The original documents were necessary for seeking expert opinion to establish the authorship of the contents, it said.
After the special court’s order, Kejriwal had demanded an explanation from the Prime Minister’s Office on the issue.
“The court ruling has validated our stand that the raids were politically motivated. It also proves that the government lied in Parliament that the raid was not in CM office,” deputy CM Manish Sisodia had said.
The Delhi government said the office functioning was “greatly hampered, paralysed and dislocated” after the CBI raid.
But the CBI has denied Kejriwal’s claim that it raided the chief minister’s office.
In its application, the city government demanded the CBI release such documents seized “indiscriminately” during the raid last month. Many of the seizures were not related/essential to the investigation in the case pertaining to alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Delhi government counsel Rahul Mehra had told the court.
Mehra termed the CBI raid “a back door” method to “jeopardise” the functioning of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. He said the CBI had not explained why it “indiscriminately” seized documents that were unrelated to the alleged corruption case.
The plea sought “stringent action against officials responsible for raiding in mala fide manner the Delhi government office and seizing documents to cause immense dislocation of work”.
The CBI raided the offices of principal secretary Rajendra Kumar on December 15 last year during which entry of officials and staff was banned on the third floor from where Kejriwal runs his government. The agency registered a corruption case against Kumar and others on allegations he abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government departments”.