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Is CBI avoiding fodder posers?

Additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam had given an undertaking in the SC on June 5 last that CBI director Vijay Shankar.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 10:11 IST

It’s a question of the CBI director’s ego and a court order.

Additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam had given an undertaking in the SC on June 5 last that CBI director Vijay Shankar would have to appear before the Jharkhand high court on June 16, the next date of hearing of the fodder scam case.

The CBI has now filed a petition stating that its director will not appear before the court to answer the monitoring bench’s posers on how the investigating agency plans to conclude probes into the fodder scam cases involving several bigwigs, including railway minister Lalu Prasad.

In his petition, CBI DIG AK Singh stated that the director has proceeded on leave and would be out of India till June 25. “His engagements include a meeting of Interpol in France on June 8-9. Thereafter, he will proceed on leave to attend his son’s graduation ceremony at Chicago Graduate School of Business,” the DIG said in his petition. He urged the court to fix a date only after June 27.

The tussle between the HC and the CBI boss began when the bench was hearing the case on May 12. The court expressed its dissatisfaction with the 2009 deadline given by joint director A.K. Suri for winding up all probes related to the scam. The court thereafter summoned the CBI chief to know how he wanted to speed up the probe since the scam cases have been dragging in special courts for over a decade.

The director, however, asked his deputy to appear on his behalf on May 18, citing a busy schedule. This angered the court, which asked Shankar if it hurt his ego to appear before the bench. The court even threatened to issue an arrest warrant if the director failed to respond to the judicial notice.

The director challenged the HC’s order in the Supreme Court. The SC dismissed his petition and asked him to appear before the monitoring bench.

Interestingly, CBI sources said that the director appeared before the J&K HC in connection with the sex racket case on June 6. But the fodder scam has larger ramifications. He might find it difficult to give a definite time frame for concluding trial of the cases involving Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra, sources said.