The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought CBI's response to the plea by Abhay Singh Chautala, son of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, seeking transfer of disproportionate assets (DA) case against him to some other judge. Chautala has claimed that he apprehends he would not get a fair trial if his case continues to be presided over by the special judge.
Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, while issuing notice to CBI and seeking its stand, observed that the judge in question was appointed by the high court to deal with cases pertaining to MPs and MLAs on orders of the Supreme Court. The court also noted that the apex court order had come in a matter which was still pending there and therefore, the Registrar General of Delhi High Court ought to be made a party in the matter.
The court impleaded the Registrar General as respondent 2 and issued notice to him, The high court, in its order, also said that since the DA case was listed before the special CBI judge on Thursday, both Abhay and the agency "shall seek joint adjournment".
With the direction, the high court listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday. During the hearing, senior advocate N Hariharan and advocate Amit Sahni, appearing for Chautala, told the high court that it was within its inherent power to transfer the DA case from one special court to another.
Special public prosecutor Rajdipa Behura, appearing for CBI, on the other hand, contended that the transfer petition "is a total abuse of process of law and has only been moved to delay the trial". Chautala has said the DA case be withdrawn from the special CBI judge hearing it presently and be assigned to someone else.
The petition has also sought calling of the case records, claiming that it would allegedly reveal deliberate deletion of the deposition of one of the prosecution witnesses. The CBI had lodged the DA case against Chautala on a complaint of Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.
Surjewala had alleged that Chautala had amassed wealth worth several times more than his income. According to the CBI, Chautala owned assets worth over five times his income of Rs 22.89 crore as per income tax records during the 2000-2005 period. It has claimed to have found Rs 119.69 crore worth of assets.
The CBI had also alleged that he possessed assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 per cent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore, but had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, it had alleged before the trial court.
(With inputs from agencies.)