Quoting a saying that “if your are caught taking bribe, you can go scot free by giving bribe”, the Delhi High Court on Monday charged the Central Bureau of Investigation with doing the same in a corruption case in which the agency took 17 long years to investigate a case against an executive engineer of then Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking (DESU).
The engineer has since taken voluntary retirement.
A team of the investigating agency had caught the engineer, A.K. Gupta, red-handed at his office on a complaint by a man from whom Gupta had demanded a bribe to process some work in 1990.
After as many as eleven years of the incident, the CBI filed a report in a special court here seeking closure of the case against Gupta. However, the Special Judge rejected its plea in 2002. Thereafter, the country’s premier investigating agency filed a charge-sheet in the case after seven years in February, 2009.
Justice S.N. Dhingra made the observation while dismissing a petition by the engineer seeking quashing of the charge-sheet on the ground of the undue delay, first in investigating the case and then charge-sheeting the accused.
Concurring with the plea of the accused that speedy investigation and speedier trial is the right of an accused, Justice Dhingra said but fast and fair investigation is also a right of Society, being the victim of crime.
Commenting on the role of the investigating agency in the case, Justice Dhingra said: ``There is an apparent connivance between the petitioner and the CBI officials.’’
In a trap case, where a person is caught red-handed, the investigation to be done involves only recording of statements of witnesses to the trap, of the complainant, seizure of the bribe amount and forensic examination of the hand wash of the accused,’’ Justice Dhingra further observed.
The Court was also surprised over the investigating agency giving no explanation of the delay of 17 years. It inferred that the agency was not at all interested in bringing to book corrupt officials holding public offices.
Dismissing the petition of the engineer, Justice Dhingra asked the CBI director to fix responsibility for the delay and action taken against the responsible officials. It asked the director to complete the investigation in three months and a file an action taken report in the Court.
New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) “In this country, if you are caught taking bribe, you can go scot-free by giving bribe,” the Delhi High Court said Monday, pulling up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for delay in probing a two-decade-old graft case.
The court pulled up the CBI for delaying the investigation in the case, which involves a Delhi power utility engineer, saying that the agency’s work was not up to the mark.
Justice S.N. Dhingra said: “The people of this country have a vested right to ensure that officers working in public offices should be honest and persons with integrity and those who indulge in corruption should be brought to book.”
The court also directed the CBI chief to investigate as to who were responsible for the delay in the case and what action has been taken against errant officials.
The court dismissed the plea by A.K. Gupta, who was accused of taking bribe in 1990 when he was working as engineer in Delhi’s electricity department, to close the case against him. Gupta was caught red-handed by the CBI.
“The CBI had no explanation as to why the result of investigation was not filed for all these years,” the judge observed.
In 2004, the CBI filed a closure report in the trial court, which rejected it saying that the reasons given in the report were flimsy, unconvincing and vague.
It was found that the CBI had not investigated the case properly and had unnecessarily doubted the credibility of the complainant.
In 2002, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the court which took cognisance of the same in 2009. Gupta then approached the court seeking quashing of the chargesheet on the ground of delay.
In his petition, he stated that speedy investigation and trial was his right. He said some witnesses whom he could have examined in his defence had retired and it would be impossible for the petitioner to trace them now.
Pulling up the CBI for delaying the investigation, the court said: “The entire investigation does not take more than two months as the accused was caught red handed and the agency has to record only the statements of witnesses involved in the trap.”
“It seems that the CBI was not at all interested that the corrupt officials sitting in the public offices should be brought to book,” the court said.
“Even if the CBI had to file a closure report doubting the credibility of the complainant and other witnesses, it could have filed the same within a reasonable time,” the court said.
“Perhaps, the CBI wanted that the case should die a slow unnatural death that is why for 11 years it kept sitting on this investigation and then filed a closure report giving lame excuses,” the court said.