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Home > News > PTI

Centre, CBI face off on prosecuting Jogi

January 08, 2007 19:41 IST

The opinion against prosecuting former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi in the cash for legislator scam has yet again brought to fore differences between the government's legal wing and the Central Bureau of Investigation whose investigators wanted to file a chargesheet against him in the 2003 case.

CBI sources said investigators dealing with the case were of the firm opinion that a chargesheet against Jogi should be filed. The sources said they had arrived at the conclusion claiming the voice spectrography test had authenticated that the voice sample matched with that of Jogi.

The development comes close on heels after the CBI was recently pulled up by Supreme Court for referring the Mayawati case to Attorney General for legal opinion despite the fact that investigators had favoured chargesheeting her.
The three-judge bench had on November 27 last year taken strong exception to the fact that despite the entire CBI team favouring Mayawati's prosecution in the Taj Heritage case, the then CBI director U S Misra preferred to refer the matter to Attorney General Milon K Banerji for his opinion.

'In the present (Mayawati) case, there was no difference of opinion on investigation by the investigating team. Therefore, there was no question of referring the matter to AG for his opinion,' the Court had observed in its judgment.

The same yardstick could be applied in the Jogi case as well, as the CBI investigating team had favoured prosecuting him. However, the present CBI Director Vijay Shanker had referred the matter to the Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam for his opinion, the sources said.

Jogi is alleged to have paid a bribe of Rs 45 lakh to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to prevent the saffron party from forming the government in the state after the 2003 assembly polls.

On December 9, 2003, the CBI registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act against Jogi, his son Amit and defected BJP parliamentarian P R Khunte for allegedly trying to bribe BJP legislators following which raids were also conducted at the Raipur and Delhi residence of Jogi and his son Amit.

The agency also registered a case against all the three under section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, which says that 'when a criminal act is committed by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for the act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.'

The FIR also cites Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) against all three of them besides some sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, which includes bribery and receiving grafts.

The case was transferred from the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Chhattisgarh, which had registered a case against Jogi when he was in office.

The Centre for Forensic and Scientific Laboratory, which examined the taped telephonic conversation between Jogi and BJP legislator Virendra Pandey for ensuring defection of newly elected BJP legislators after Congress was routed in 2003 polls, had found that the voices matched and were genuine.

During its course of investigations, the CBI examined over 50 people, including Jogi, Khunte and other legislators, in connection with the scam and also questioned Jogi's staff, including his driver. The CBI had found the bank account from which the money was allegedly given to Virender Pandey.

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