Court directs CBI Director of Prosecution to appear on Tuesday

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New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) A special court here on Monday ordered CBI’s Director of Prosecution to appear before it on Tuesday, as it is unable to proceed further in a 21-year-old graft case involving former Union Minister P.K. Thungon in the absence of the public prosecutor.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Kamini Lau directed the Director of Prosecution to appear before it on Tuesday and explain why a penalty should not be imposed on the investigation agency for seeking adjournment due to the absence of the prosecutor in a day-to-day trial.

The court order came after the CBI’s public prosecutor did not appear despite repeated calls since morning.

The court was hearing a case relating to alleged irregularities in allotment of government quarters against Thungon and 17 others. Out of the 18 accused, three died during trial while many of the accused are senior citizens.

The case was lodged in 1996 and the CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case in 2003.

In 2009, the court framed charges against the accused.

The court observed that a total of 245 dates were fixed for hearing, of which 180 were for prosecution evidence.

The court on May 31 decided to take up the matter on a priority basis and directed that examination of the remaining witnesses be done on a day-to-day basis from July 17.

But on Monday, the court said: “I am unable to proceed with the recording of statements of the prosecution witnesses for the reasons beyond my control.”

The court was irked with the adjournment sought by the CBI over the absence of the prosecutor.

The court said the CBI Director for Prosecution, who was accountable for the agency’s cases going undefended, should be apprised of the order for his intervention to find a solution to the situation.

The court said that the Director of Prosecution should also inform it of the remedial action taken on an urgent basis as the trial of the case had commenced on a daily basis and needed to be concluded by July 21, as per its previous order.

The court also instructed the agency to make arrangements for the stay of a witness, a retired CBI officer who came to the court from Bhubaneswar, along with a flight ticket for July 18.

–IANS

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