A Delhi high court judge on Friday recused himself from hearing the plea of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's close aide Vincent George against a trial court order summoning him as an accused in a disproportionate assets case.
Without citing any reason, Justice J R Midha said, "Let the matter be listed before another bench on August 26."
George had approached the high court challenging the July 18 order of the special CBI judge rejecting the CBI's closure report and summoning him as an accused in the case, saying there was sufficient material to proceed against him.
"Final report filed by CBI is not accepted. Further, it is held that sufficient material is available on record for proceeding against Vincent George (the suspect) for the offence punishable Under Section 13(1)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA)" relating to possession of assets by a public servant disproportionate to known sources of income.
"He be summoned as an accused for offence punishable under section 13(1)(e) of PCA, 1988, for August 30," the trial court had said in its order.
An FIR was registered against George in 2000 in which he was alleged to have been in possession of disproportionate assets from November 1984 to December 1990.
The allegation against him is that while holding the office of public servant as private secretary to former Prime Minister and the then Leader of Opposition Rajiv Gandhi, he acquired assets in the name of his wife, children and close relatives in "benami" which were disproportionate to known sources of his income.
The CBI had alleged that George had amassed huge wealth after 1990 which included commercial and residential properties in posh South Delhi area, properties in Bangalore, Chennai, Kerala and agriculture land bordering Delhi besides cash of over Rs 1.5 crore in bank accounts.
In May this year, the CBI, however, filed a lengthy closure report saying, "the allegations in the FIR have not been substantiated and it is, therefore, prayed that final report for closure of this case may be accepted and the documents seized/collected during the investigation be returned to persons concerned."
The closure report detailed the various positions held by George from 1975 to 1977 when he was an assistant in AICC following which he was deputed as former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's personal staff in 1980. After her assassination in 1984, he was associated with Rajiv Gandhi in different capacities.
It said investigation had showed that foreign remittances which were included in the category of income of George and his family members came from the US sent by other family members as financial help.
Image: Sonia Gandhi’s aide Vincent George