Cash at judge’s door: Prosecution witness retracts from statement
In the 2008 cash-at-judge’s door scam, prosecution witness Surinder Sood resiled from his statement in front of a special CBI court on Saturday.
Retired high court judge Nirmal Yadav is facing trial for receiving ₹15 lakh from a Delhi-based hotelier, Ravinder Singh, in 2008. Besides Yadav and Ravinder, the other accused in the case are city-based businessman Rajiv Gupta, one Nirmal Singh and since deceased, Sanjeev Bansal, the then additional advocate general, Haryana.
Surinder is a friend of Nirmal Singh and acquaintance of Rajiv.
On Saturday, Surinder and another prosecution witnesses, RS Gill, were cross-examined by special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta. While Gill stood by his statement recorded with the CBI, Surinder retracted from his, following which the prosecutor sought from court to declare him hostile.
However, the court’s interim order only stated that the duo was examined, with no mention of Surinder being declared hostile.
Ravinder had allegedly asked Sanjeev to hand over the money to justice Yadav. But the money was mistakenly delivered at the Chandigarh residence of another HC judge, Nirmaljit Kaur, on August 13, 2008.
In a bid to suppress the name of justice Yadav, Sanjeev allegedly tried to show Nirmal Singh as the beneficiary, as they shared the first name.
On Surinder’s persuasion, Nirmal Singh went to the police station along with Rajiv and Sanjeev and stated that money was meant for him and was part of a property deal in Sector 16, Panchkula.
FLIP-FLOP IN COURT
Before CBI, Surinder had testified that Rajiv spoke to him and then he spoke to Nirmal Singh, and they all went to the Sector 11 police station. But he denied this statement in court on Saturday.
“He said he is a close friend of Nirmal Singh and acquaintance of Rajiv, but he never met or spoke to Rajiv regarding this case in 2008. Whereas his statement before CBI gave details of circumstantial account of how they all met and concocted this story,” an advocate said.
During last hearing, the two witnesses — Vimal Bhardwaj, 60, of Dehradun and Kuldeep Singh, 70, of Ambala, were declared hostile.
So far, 56 prosecution witnesses have been examined. Of these, 11 have turned hostile.
TWO BAILABLE WARRANTS
The CBI court issued bailable warrants against two prosecution witnesses — Santosh Tripathi and RK Jindal.
Tripathi was a stenographer with Sanjiv and witness to search and recovery memo, whereas RK Jindal is Sanjiv’s cousin.