LE Desk

New Delhi, December 6, 2021: A Special CBI Court here provided relief to coal scam accused Manoj Kumar Jayaswal and Vijay Darda by holding that adocument under Section 162 of the CrPC shall not be treated as an exhibited document.

In the matter of CBI Vs. Manoj Kumar Jayaswal (AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd), during investigation a witness who was working with Indigo Airlines had written a letter to the Investigating Officer and provided information about travel details of the accused persons. 

On October 11, 2021 at the time of recording of evidence of the said witness, counsel for the accused advocate Vijay Aggarwal and advocateMudit Jain raised objection to the exhibition of the said letter as the same was affected by Section 162 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 in terms of the judgements of Supreme Court in the case of Kali Ram Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh. It was further submitted that this objection be decided forthwith in the light of ‘Suo Moto Writ Crl No. 1/2017 in re: to issue certain guidelines regarding Inadequacies and Deficiencies in the Criminal trials vs. the State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors dated 20.04.2021’. 

However, on 11.10.2021 Special CBI Judge Arun Bhardwaj did not decide the objections holding that carefully perused of the directions of the Supreme Court in the above mentioned Suo Moto Writ Crl. No. 1/2017 shows that the directions to the trial court are for deciding relevance of questions during cross-examination, the directions are that if irrelevant questions are not checked, the danger lies in irrelevant, vague and speculative answers entering the records. The Judge further held that the directions in the judgment are yet to be incorporated in the rules governing criminal trials by the Delhi High Court, therefore, the objections regarding exhibit on documents will be decided at final stage.

Therefore, the CBI moved an application before the Special CBI Judge requesting him to reconsider the order dated October 11, 2021 and decide the objection raised by the counsel of the accused henceforth in terms of Suo Moto Writ Crl No. 1/2017. 

By order dated October 23, 2021, the Judge allowed the application and agreed to decide the objection raised during recording of evidence immediately and held that considering the totality of the facts and circumstances, documents shall not be treated as exhibited documents. Thus, relief is given to the accused by not allowing exhibition of the letter written by witness to the IO during trial.

Again on November 22, 2021 while recording evidence in the same matter, counsel for the accused advocates Vijay Aggarwal and Mudit Jain raised objection to the exhibition of entire files received from PMO on the ground that the entire files, from cover to cover, cannot be exhibited as each page of these files should have carried initials of the witness, witness should have counted the documents in these files; there should have been a handing over and taking over memo, the files contain correspondence and note sheets of different times and by different authors in different handwritings; the files contain certain documents in original and certain photocopies and best witness should have been summoned to prove these files. 

After hearing the advocates of the counsels and Public Prosecutor A P Singh, the Special Court held that marking exhibit numbers on the files is only for the purpose of the identification of the documents and during trial the same has to be proved as per law.

The Special CBI Judge has been appointed by the Supreme Court, at the Rouse Avenue Court complex here, exclusively for matters pertaining to the coal block allocation scam.

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