AJL case: Kapil Sibal wants to appear through virtual mode only; hearing adjourned
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday adjourned hearing in an alleged illegal allotment of a plot in Panchkula to Associated Journal Limited (AJL), being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and AJL, publisher of the National Herald newspaper are accused in the case. The HC had stayed the trial on July 1.
As the case was taken up by the bench of justice GS Sandhawalia, the court was apprised that one of the counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, due to his age and prevailing conditions, can’t appear as he has to come from Delhi. The case was taken up on Monday through physical mode.
The CBI had opposed the adjournment submitting that a stay on proceedings is operating in favour of Hooda and AJL.
The court, while deferring the hearing for September 20, observed that in case the bench takes up cases through physical mode on the said date, the case be listed a day after.
It also observed that physical hearings have been started in view of demand from the Bar and if the stay is vacated, the plea will become infructuous.
On April 16, a special CBI court had framed charges against Hooda and AJL. Acting on the plea against that order, HC had stayed further proceedings. The FIR was registered in 2016 during the BJP regime for the alleged offences in 2005 when the Congress leader was the chief minister.
According to the CBI, the Sector 6, Panchkula land was re-allotted by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to AJL at old rates when Hooda was the CM and chairman, HUDA.
Charges were framed under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.