A Delhi court on Saturday cleared decks for the prosecution of hotelier S P Gupta by allowing the city government to withdraw its earlier plea to seek the quashing of three FIRs against him, allegedly at the behest of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
"The court is of the considered view that nothing precludes prosecution from withdrawing its earlier plea for withdrawal of prosecution," said Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Yaduvanshi.
The Delhi government, which earlier sought withdrawal of cases against Gupta allegedly at behest of Chidambaram and the home ministry, later sought his prosecution, following a furore in and out of Parliament on the issue.
"Application of State dated December 12, 2011 (to pursue cases against S P Gupta) stands allowed," it said.
The city government, on December 15, moved a fresh plea seeking withdrawal of its earlier application in which it had favoured withdrawal of FIRs saying "no case was made out".
The court also rejected Gupta's plea that complainant VLS Finance has no right to be heard and fixed the matter for hearing on March 7.
Earlier, the city government changed its stand and told the court that there was sufficient evidence to pursue cases against Gupta.
"After thorough examination of case file and evidence on record, I found that there is sufficient evidence against the accused persons," the public prosecutor had said.
The government had filed three separate applications stating that in each of the cases there was sufficient material to go ahead with the prosecution.
Earlier, applications of city government for withdrawal of cases against Gupta, who runs Sunair Hotels Pvt Ltd, had snowballed into a controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party accusing Chidambaram of favouring his former client.
Chidambaram strongly rejected the allegations and dismissed suggestions there was any conflict of interest involved in it.
Three cases were lodged against Gupta on complaints filed by Delhi-based firm VLS Finance for alleged fraud, forgery and deceit.
The FIR against Gupta has been filed under various sections of IPC related to charges of criminal breach of trust, fraudulently preventing debt being available for creditors, forgery, forgery of valuable security and criminal conspiracy.