The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said statements made by accused in custody before the central agency’s officers is admissible as evidence in the court, as against statements made before other agencies. Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act says that confessions or any statements by the accused made before police in custody are inadmissible are evidence.
The arguments in court in a multi-crore drug racket case assume significance as the alleged kingpin, Jagdish Bhola, had in his statement before the ED named Punjab cabinet minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia as being involved in the racket. This statement by Bhola and similar ones by some other accused had led the ED to summoning and quizzing Majithia.
It was during the resumed hearing of bail petition by Bhola that the ED counsel said the particular law was not applicable to statements made before the agency, even as Bhola’s counsel argued otherwise. Niranjan Singh, assistant director, ED, who quizzed Majithia and others, was also present in court on behalf of the agency. Niranjan has made headlines too as his transfer to Kolkata has been stayed by the high court till February 26 on a petition that says his shifting was meant to hamper the probe.
Appearing before the court of district and sessions judge HS Maddan, Satish Karkara, the counsel for Bhola, contended, “He may have given statement to ED under threat or any other circumstance. Thus, it’s not admissible.” This could be seen as odd since Bhola has, in the past, named Majithia in front of the media, with no hesitation.
On the other side, special public prosecutor Suresh Batra disputed the contention put forth by Bhola’s lawyer.
“Whatever statement Bhola has recorded, is based on his admission and truth,” he said. Karkara objected, “You can’t pick and choose different interpretations of the same Act. When it benefits us you say it’s not admissible. But when it suits you, you want to go ahead with it,” contended Karkara.
The court fixed February 11 as the next date of hearing to again take up the issue. firstname.lastname@example.org