A Delhi court on Monday warned Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Vice Chairman Anil Ambani of coercive steps to secure their presence if they did not appear before it on July 7 in connection with a case of alleged procurement of classified documents by the company officials in violation of Official Secrets Act.
"It is made clear that if they do not surrender to the jurisdiction of the court on the next date of hearing (July 7), coercive steps will be taken to procure Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani," Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal said after the duo who were summoned for Monday failed to appear before it.
Appearing for the brothers, counsel Dinesh Mathur prayed that they be exempted from personal appearance for the day as they were out of the country.
Mukesh has gone to Geneva to attend the board meeting of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mathur said, adding that he was likely to return on June 7 and would appear before the court thereafter.
Anil, he said, had left for a meet at Pennsylvania University's Wharton School besides a meet of Board of Overseers.
However, CBI counsel S K Saxena opposed the plea saying there was no provision in Criminal Procedure Code for dispensing with personal appearance of accused till they submit to the jurisdiction of the court.
The accused cannot be allowed to appear in court on their sweet will, he contended and prayed the court to issue arrest warrants against them.
The CMM had on May 6 issued summons to the Ambani brothers, following a direction by Additional Sessions Judge P K Bhasin that they be asked to appear, for being 'statutorily deemed to be guilty' of the offence allegedly committed by the company's officials.
CBI officers investigating a case of extortion and abduction against Romesh Sharma had allegedly stumbled upon photocopies of four classified documents of various government ministries from Reliance's office at Meridien Commercial Towers here during a raid on October 28, 1998.
Subsequently, the agency had named RIL President V Balasubramaniam, Vice President A N Sethuraman and Shankar Adawal (General Manager, Reliance Telecom) as accused and charged them with entering into a criminal conspiracy for receiving, possessing and handling the classified documents.
Since the possession of these documents was allegedly unauthorised, it could cause risk to national security, the agency alleged.
It also claimed that copies of these documents were faxed to late Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh, Anil and also to one N R Meswani, Executive Director of Reliance.
These documents were beneficial for promoting the company's interests, CBI alleged.