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Former Delhi HC judge's CBI remand extended till May 12
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | May 07, 2003 19:20 IST
A Delhi court on Wednesday extended the police remand of former Delhi high court judge Shameet Mukherjee and former Delhi Development Authority vice-chairman Subash Sharma (check spelling) till May 12.
Special Judge Prem Kumar accepted the Central Bureau of Investigation's argument that it was necessary to extend Mukherjee's police custody and gave five reasons for doing so:
The judge rejected the plea of defence counsel Dinesh Mathur that the CBI would be committing contempt of court if it sought further remand despite the accused having been granted a month's interim bail on medical grounds by the Delhi high court.
Judge Kumar said the Supreme Court's order earlier in the day dismissing the CBI's special leave petition against the high court order clearly stated that the latter would not come in the way of the accused being sent to police custody for interrogation by the trial court.
'I find that it is in the interest of investigation and also in the interest of justice that to unearth the conspiracy in this case the police custody remand of the accused is extended upto May 12, 2003,' he said in his order, which was delivered at 1830 IST, well past the court's scheduled closing time.
The judge, who called the case a 'judicial scandal', also spoke about the responsibility of judges to lead by example. He observed that society's demand for honesty in a judge is 'exacting and absolute', and for a judge to deviate from such standards of honesty and impartiality is to betray the trust reposed in him.
'From the standpoint of justice the size of the bribe or scope of corruption cannot be the scale of measuring a judge's dishonour,' he explained. 'A single dishonest judge not only dishonours himself and disgraces his office, but jeopardizes the integrity of the entire judicial system.'
The day's proceedings took a dramatic turn when restaurateur Vinod Khatri, another accused in the case, surrendered before the court.
Khatri owns the 'Sahara' restaurant in Vasant Kunj, whose demolition had been stayed by Mukherjee.
Khatri was remanded to police custody till May 14.
Judge Kumar also rejected the plea of co-accused Subash Sharma that since he had already been arrested in two other cases and interrogated at length by the CBI, his arrest in the new case was unwarranted and unjustified.
Sharma's counsel K T S Tulsi argued that his client did not order the replacement of Gita Mittal, counsel for the DDA in the Azad Singh case. "My client had given specific instructions that Ms Mittal was not to be changed," he said. The CBI believes Sharma had ordered Mittal's replacement because she could not be manipulated.
He also dismissed the bail petition of Jagdish Chander, another DDA employee arrested in yet another case in what has come to be known as the DDA scandal.
More reports from Delhi
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