...Ques­tions Ev­i­dence Re­lied Upon by the Probe Agency

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Raghav.Ohri@ times­group.com

WOR­RI­SOME TREND This is a dan­ger­ous trend and can strike at the root of rule of law and con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy as wrong­do­ers can gang up against those, who, by the pe­rusal of record, are in­no­cent RUL­ING Spe­cial CBI Court

New Delhi: Dis­charg­ing all the ac­cused in the Air­cel-Maxis case, the spe­cial CBI court has ques­tioned the “ev­i­dence” re­lied upon by the CBI be­sides com­ment­ing ad­versely about the role of “scared, sub­mis­sive and ob­struc­tive bu­reau­cracy”.

This, the judge has held that it is “a threat to con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy and rule of law”. Re­fer­ring to the state­ments of the of­fi­cers recorded by the CBI, the judge has held that the “oral state­ments” made by the of­fi­cers was con­trary to the record.

“I have no man­ner of doubt that these of­fi­cers were timid and ob­struc­tive at the time of prepa­ra­tion of record as well as sub­se­quently when mak­ing the state­ment to the CBI, wherein they read­ily shifted the blame to oth­ers,” ac­cord­ing to the judg­ment.

The rul­ing fur­ther states: “This is a dan­ger­ous trend and can strike at the root of rule of law and the con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy as wrong do­ers can gang up against those, who, by the pe­rusal of record, are in­no­cent.”

“The of­fi­cial record which is deemed to be cor­rect and true shall lose all im­por­tance and wrong do­ers would have a hay day as by mak­ing oral state­ment they can ac­cuse anyone and them­selves go scot-free. In the in­stant case, ev­ery­one who was re­spon­si­ble for any de­lay, wrong do­ing or ob­struc­tive ques­tions have been made a wit­ness and has thus, read­ily and will­ingly made an oral state­ment, fully and wholly con­trary to the of­fi­cial record,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

The rul­ing also refers to what it calls the “anx­i­ety” of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer to “some­how im­pli­cate the ac­cused”. The court re­fused to place re­liance on val­u­a­tion re­ports of ENAM Se­cu­ri­ties (P) Ltd and Tata Sky Ltd which were re­lied upon by the CBI to prove its case that Maxis’ val­u­a­tion of Sun DTH was too high and the Malaysian com­pany’s in­vest­ment in the Sun DTH amounted to a bribe.

Hold­ing that these re­ports are based on “sev­eral as­sump­tions and pre­sump­tions”, the court has held that a bare pe­rusal of these re­ports would re­veal that these re­ports “as­sume too much and prove too lit­tle. There is hardly any fact in these re­ports which can be put to le­gal proof ”.

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