Pay no attention to JMM leader's statement: Rao
Former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao on Wednesday submitted before the Delhi high court that no sanctity could be attached to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shailendra Mahato's confession.
The JMM leader earlier ''confessed'' that he was offered a bribe to vote in favour of the Rao government.
The former prime minister also told the high court that the statement was made at the instance of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Senior counsel R J Anand was arguing Rao's revision petition against the trial court verdict ordering framing of charges against the former prime minister.
Anand said there was nothing on record to testify the confession of Mahato who had turned an approver in the case.
Mahato had made the statement to save his own skin, said the counsel.
Anand also said Mahato's track record showed that ''he was an expert in changing his statements and political affiliations fast''. Within one year, Mahato had left the JMM to join the Bharatiya Janata Party and then came back to the parent party before showing his inclination to join the Congress.
He said Mahato's wife had approached the National Human
Rights Commission alleging that her husband was being
tortured in CBI custody. She said Mahato was being forced by
the CBI to sign various documents and statements.
The JMM leader's wife also demanded that Mahato's statement be recorded before the NHRC.
However, neither did Mahato make the statement before the NHRC nor did he repeat his confession before the trial court.
Moreover, Mahato said on June 23, 1996, that he had voted in favour of Rao solely because of the promise that the Jharkhand Autonomous Council would be constituted, Anand said.
The counsel also disputed the grounds on which Mahato was made an approver. He said only those facing minor charges in a case are eligible for the benefit. Mahato does not qualify as he is directly involved in the case, he said.
To this, the judge remarked, ''Do you want to say that your
client should have been made the approver. Is he ready for that?''
Anand, however, said that it was for the magistrate to
ascertain the facts before accepting a person as an
MPs cannot be prosecuted: Rao