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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Cash at judge’s door : Two more witnesses turn hostile

Retract statements regarding Delhi-based businessman, Ravinder Singh, who allegedly paid ₹15 lakh as bribe to then HC judge Nirmal Yadav

chandigarh Updated: Sep 22, 2019 00:32 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

Two witnesses in the 2008 cash-at-judge’s-door scam were declared hostile by CBI special prosecutor Anupam Gupta before 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 Singh, 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.

Singh had allegedly asked Bansal 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.

There are 81 witnesses in this case, of which eight have already turned hostile.

On Saturday, the prosecution witnesses declared hostile are Pankaj Bhardwaj, a high court advocate, and Dr Markenday Ahuja, who was an eye surgeon at a charitable hospital in Rohtak in 2008.

Dr Ahuja was stated to be a close friend of Singh and Bansal, and met them both together.

DOCTOR’S ORIGINAL STATEMENT

The doctor had told CBI in September 2008 that on August 14 and 15, Bansal, then absconding, had called him and narrated the story that “Singh on August 13, 2008 handed over to him ₹15 lakh, which were to be delivered to Justice Nirmal Yadav at her residence in Chandigarh, but due to mistake of his munshi, delivered it to the residence of Nirmaljit Kaur”. He also told me that nothing is serious and he will manage that, Dr Ahuja had said.

He had also told CBI that on August 19, 2008, he got a call from Bansal asking him to come to Delhi and bring Singh along. He requested him to convince Singh to sign an affidavit, owning up that he had asked Bansal to send ₹15 lakh to justice Yadav, which Singh refused to sign. Bansal had also told him that he will surrender before the police.

But, in the court on Saturday, the doctor said he didn’t know Singh, and was hence declared hostile.

Similarly, advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj in his previous statement to CBI had said that on August 13, 2008, he received a call from Bansal who asked him to share details of some Nirmal Singh, who could be helpful to him.

However, in court, he denied having made such a statement or mentioning Nirmal Singh.

A senior CBI counsel, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “Bansal had prepared false alibi of Nirmal Singh. Bhardwaj’s statement given to CBI was a proof that Bansal had spoken to him about false alibi of Nirmal Singh. But, in court he denied this, and was hence declared hostile.”

Meanwhile, another witness, Souravdeep Singh, assistant manager, Spice Communication Ltd, produced call details of various accused in the court. 

Chief examination of  VK Gupta, former vice-president, finance, MDLR Airlines, also took place on Saturday.

“His statement showed connection between Yadav and Bansal. He produced the record of the flight taken by justice Yadav from Chandigarh to Delhi on August 2, 2008 . The tickets of this flight was booked and paid by Bansal,” the counsel said.

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 00:32 IST

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