Apex court also orders a full-fledged probe into the case
The Supreme Court Wednesday directed suspension of Tihar Jail officials, registration of case against them and full-fledged probe into their collusion with Unitech’s imprisoned ex-promoters Sanjay and Ajay Chandra, based on Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana’s report filed in a sealed cover.
A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah directed registration of cases against the Tihar Jail officials and other unknown persons under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code against those involved in the collusion as per the report.
It also directed suspension of Tihar Jail officials, pending proceedings against whom cases will be lodged as per the report, following ED’s disclosure that the Chandra brothers were conducting business from prison.
The top court further directed the Home Ministry to comply with Mr. Asthana’s suggestions in the report on enhancing prison management and allowed a copy to be shared with the ministry for necessary compliance of directions.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 21.
During the hearing, which witnessed heated exchange between the Bench and senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Sanjay Chandra, on the issue of sharing of reports of forensic audit and probe agencies, the top court said that natural justice is being followed as under the law and documents which would become part of charge sheet or case diary cannot be shared with the accused.
“My 84-year-old father and wife have been arrested by the ED without any charge being proven against me. Now they would arrest my children. This is unfair, without giving me a copy of the forensic audit done by M/s Grant Thornton to put my defence, this court has taken over my company,” Mr. Singh said.
“If tomorrow, I am acquitted of the charge of diversion of funds, will the court be able to set the clock back. This will not be possible and the court will have to repent this,” Mr. Singh said.
Justice Chandrachud, who seldom loses his cool, said angrily, “What kind of argument is this that this court will repent its mistake. What kind of language is this? You are making allegations against the court. We are bound by law and cannot share the reports which will become part of the case diary. May be you are not briefed properly by your clients. We are very much aware of natural justice”.
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