Buta Singh, Kamal Nath and Jain brothers among the nine discharged in hawala case
A special court on Thursday discharged former
Union ministers Buta Singh, Kamal Nath, Chand Ram and Babanrao Dhakne
and five others, including the four Jain bothers, in the Rs 650 million hawala
case, taking the number of those exonerated to 16.
''Prima facie I find no evidence against any of the accused
persons in the four cases which can be converted into legal
evidence,'' Judge V B Gupta said in his 86-page order.
Besides the Jain brothers -- S K Jain, N K Jain and B R Jain
-- and their employee J K Jain, the other accused discharged
was S S Sandhu, who was alleged to have been the conduit in
paying Buta Singh.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed four separate cases against the four former
ministers, with the Jains figuring as accused in all.
According to the chargesheets, the Jains had paid Rs 750,000 to
Buta Singh, Rs 1.2 million to Kamal Nath, Rs 120,000 to Chand
Ram and Rs 1 million to Dhakne.
The CBI, however, had failed to establish that illegal
gratification was demanded and accepted by the leaders for
showing official favours, the judge ruled. In fact, they had failed to establish any association between the politicians and the Jains.
Reacting to his exoneration, Buta Singh alleged former
prime minister P V Narasimha Rao and former CBI director Vijay
Rama Rao had implicated him in the case.
If there was any real recipient of hawala payments, it had to
be Rao, he added.
Kamal Nath described his discharge as ''a judicial conclusion of political persecution'' and said he was consulting
lawyers about filing a defamation suit against the CBI.
The fact that his name cropped up in the Rs 650 million case resulted in political setbacks for him, he said, including his defeat in the Chhindwara Lok Sabha by-election earlier this year. The CBI, he said, had
brought his name up just because the initials 'KN' appeared in the infamous Jain diaries.
Kamal Nath said his lawyer had shown the Lok Sabha Who's Who in court to establish there were several members with the same initials. ''My case was disposed of in three-and-a-half minutes,'' he said.
The others who have already got clean chits in the case include Bharatiya Janata Party
president L K Advani and former Union ministers V C Shukla, Arjun
Singh, Madhavrao Scindia, N D Tiwari and R K Dhawan and former
Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana.