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SC exception to Khurshid remarks

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today took exception to Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid`s reported statement that putting businessmen behind bars will hamper investments in the country, saying if true it is “disturbing”. A bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Haren Rawal to clarify the minister`s statement, while hearing the bail pleas of 2G case accused-Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra and Swan Telecom`s Director Vinod Goenka.

“It appears as if we are interested in keeping these businessmen behind bars. Is this news statement and what has been reported in newspapers totally correct ? It was in the headline of a leading newspaper. If it is correct, it is disturbing for us,” the bench told Rawal, who was opoosing the bail pleas. Appearing for Goenka, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that the statement was published in a leading newspaper and it is correct.

The bench wanted to know from Rawal whether he was supporting the stand taken by the minister as reported in the newspaper.The bench also expressed surprise over reports that the CBI will not oppose the bail pleas of DMK`s Kanimozhi and certain other accused in the scam case.However, the ASG said it was not correct and he has the instruction to oppose the bail pleas of the accused persons.

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During the hearing, the bench said that there are public relation officers in the CBI and was it not appropriate for them to contradict any misleading news item. The bench said that the issue before it was a serious matter on which the hearing has been going on for over a month.”We want to know is there a change in your stand after reading the newspaper report. We thought that Rawal will come out with a change in stand and we are surprised,” the bench said.

However, the bench said it is very clear even if it is the stand of the government, these things will not affect the proceedings of the court.”If you have such instructions, tell us. It will not affect us.” However, the ASG said, “I have instructions to oppose the bail.”

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