A Delhi court on Wednesday extended by five more days the custody of CBI superintendent of police Vivek Dutt, a key member of the coal scam probe, and three others arrested for their alleged roles in a bribery case.
Special CBI judge GP Singh allowed the central probe agency's plea seeking extension of their custody, saying the "case has wide ramifications".
The order came a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought the Supreme Court's permission to remove Dutt from the team of 33 officers probing the coal blocks allocation scam.
The SC had earlier directed that no officer of the coal scam probe team would be dropped or transferred without its permission.
The CBI had arrested Dutt along with the agency's inspector Rajesh Chandra Karnatak on May 17 for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 7 lakh from businessman Dinesh Chand Gupta to settle his land dispute.
The agency has also arrested Gupta and alleged middleman Rajesh Pachisia.
Dutt has claimed innocence and alleged his arrest is part of a conspiracy to keep him out of the coal scam probe.
Seeking the extension of custody, the CBI told the court it needed to take voice samples of the accused, who also had to be confronted with recorded conversations.
The agency said it had recovered some mobile phones from the accused and sent them to a forensic lab.
Advocate Sanjay Abbot, who appeared for Dutt, said his client did not want to give his voice sample to the CBI.
"I do not want to give my voice sample. They (CBI) cannot compel me," Abbot said on behalf of his client.
Gupta and Pachisia's counsel also said his clients were not willing to give voice samples to the CBI.
During the hearing, the CBI placed before the court the case diary and other seized case property including recovered cash. On May 18, the court had granted three days' custody of the accused to the CBI. On Tuesday, the court had extended the custody by a day.
According to the CBI, Dutt and Karnatak were in the same branch in the agency and Pachisia was in regular contact with them. The CBI had informed the court Gupta had a land dispute and a cheating case was registered against him at Amar Colony police station here.
Dutt used to pressure Delhi Police officials investigating the cheating case to quash the first information report (FIR) and for this, he had demanded Rs. 15 lakh from Gupta, it said.
According to the CBI, the station house officer (SHO) of Amar Colony police station was initially reluctant, but later succumbed to the pressure and the FIR was quashed.
Pachisia was caught when he was handing over Rs. 7 lakh to Karnatak, the CBI had told the court. It had added that a total of Rs. 15 lakh cash was recovered from Pachisia, Karnatak and Gupta.
Rejecting Dutt's conspiracy allegations, the CBI had said it had recorded conversations between Dutt and the SHO and four independent witnesses were present when the cash was recovered from the possession of the accused.