In a new twist to the bribery scandal involving Punjab and Haryana High Court judges, the main accused on Thursday told a local court that the two packets containing Rs 1.5 million each and delivered to two judges of the court last month, did not belong to him.
The counsel of Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh moved an application in the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here Thursday claiming that the money did not belong to Singh at all.
The claim has added a new twist to the cash-for-judge scam as the other accused arrested in this case, former Haryana additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal and local property dealer Rajiv Gupta, who had got the money delivered last month, had claimed that the money belonged to Singh.
Singh's plea for anticipatory bail in the high court was Thursday dismissed by the court. Singh has been absconding since the scam broke out August 13.
The scandal came to light after a packet containing Rs 1.5 million was delivered at the residence of high court judge Nirmaljit Kaur August 13 at her Sector 11 residence.
The judge reported the matter to the police following which the Chandigarh police registered a case and started investigations. The case was later transferred to the CBI as it involved the judiciary and leading lawyers.
The police investigations revealed that the packet was supposed to be delivered to another high court judge, Nirmal Yadav. She was later delivered another packet containing Rs 1.5 million, police investigations revealed.
Yadav has been on leave since August 22. Her name figured in the scam and also a land deal in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.
Singh's application says that the money delivered at the judge's house did not belong to him. His counsel argued that the court could not believe the statements of Sanjeev Bansal, one of the prime accused.
"The investigation agency has not revealed any fact other than the statement of Sanjeev Bansal that cannot be considered of any substantial value," said the counsel.
"If the investigating agency can produce any other witness in the case who can identify Ravinder in an identification parade and verify his involvement then he will surrender before the special CBI court in New Delhi," stated the counsel.
The CBI court judge Jagdeep Jain issued a notice to the CBI in this regard. The matter will now be taken up Friday.
Bansal, former Haryana advocate general and his assistant, Parkash, Nirmal Singh and Rajiv Gupta are in judicial custody in the judge bribery case that rocked the city last month.
The Chandigarh police registered a case against Bansal and others under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Bansal, who is known to have good connections with many Haryana politicians, judges and lawyers, was forced to resign as Haryana's top law officer after the scam broke.
Embarrassed by the events, the Supreme Court took exception to the manner in which the names of high court judges figured in the scam and last month set up a special committee of judges to probe the matter separately.