Land scam: Delhi HC exempts CBI director

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today stayed an order of a lower court asking the CBI director to personally appear before it to explain disappearance of some documents pertaining to the sensational multi-crore rupees Molarband and Dheerpur land scam case.

"Instead of the CBI Director, the DIG (Joint Director of CBI) shall appear in person before the trial court to explain the things. The trial court order is modified to that extent," Justice Suresh Kait said.

Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha, appearing for the CBI, said, "We will do our best to ensure that CBI shall render complete assistance/documents to the trial court concerned. It will be difficult for the Director of the CBI to personally appear as he has to oversee the entire functioning of the agency."

Allowing the contentions of the agency, Justice Kait said, "In my opinion the presence of the joint director before the trial court would be proper."

The CBI had yesterday moved the high court seeking a stay on the order of a Special CBI Judge asking the director of the agency to personally appear before him today.

Earlier, a court of Special CBI Judge had issued summons asking the CBI Director to appear and explain as to how some crucial documents in the land scam, involving food vendor Ashok Malhotra as accused, went missing.

The lower court had sought explanation from the CBI Director as to why the fact regarding missing documents was suppressed.

The case pertains to Delhi Vidhan Sabha canteen`s former contractor Ashok Malhotra, who was arrested in 2007 along with MCD and DDA officials for conspiring to acquire plots meant for resettlement of slum dwellers and subsequently selling them at exorbitant rates.

The fact of missing documents had come to the court`s notice on November 28, 2011 when it was told that documents and statements could not be filed as the investigating officer (IO) of the case, D K Thakur, was arrested in another case.

CBI had also said the case record was not handed over by Thakur to any other IO and the documents relied upon could not be recovered from his almirah.

Malhotra was arrested on August 6, 2007 for allegedly conspiring with DDA officials to fraudulently acquire plots, meant for resettlement of slum dwellers between 2000 and 2002.

Besides Malhotra, the CBI had also charge sheeted S N S Sidhu, Phillip Toppo, Sumer Chand Garg – all deputy directors of MCD and canteen manager Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Ram Chander Arora, Lal Mani, Sher Singh, Nanak Chand Khandelwal, businessman Ashok Jain and MCD clerk Atul Vashisth.

They are all charged with sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of a valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) o