CBI has filed a plea seeking permission to examine a foreign national as a witness in a case involving Congress leader Jagadeesh Tyler and Arms dealer Abhishek Verma who is alleged to have written a forged letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.
The Council of Verma, told Justice Yogesh Khanna in his client’s defence, that the witness was summoned even earlier by the court. He said that the witness was summoned on four occasions but, he never appeared before the trial court thus, closing the prosecution’s evidence.
The Council argued that the time fixed by the apex court for completing the case was one year, which has expired so calling a witness at this point would be starting the case De novo.
In response to this, the CBI asked for more time from the High Court to seek instructions if they need to apply for an extension of time for the trial.
The CBI wanted to examine Alen, the foreign national to prove certain E-mail IDs allegedly used by the accused to send the forged letter.
The agency submitted that the witness could not be called earlier for examination as he had posed a lot of conditions to come to India such as Business class seats etc. Now he is ready to be the witness through video conferencing.
However, the plea was dismissed by the Court stating that even after the order of closing evidence being passed in November 2018, the CBI had made no efforts to bring the witness. The court added that if the witness was of such great significance to the case then the witness should have been examined challenging the previous order.
The accused Tyler and Verma were put on trial by the trial court on December 5th, 2015. Various charges were framed on them, punishable by the IPC such as 420 (Cheating), 471 (Fraudulently or dishonestly using forged document or electronic record), and 120(b) Criminal conspiracy.
These charges were filed after CBI received a complaint from the Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken, alleging a forged letter on his letterhead which was addressed to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking to ease the business norms in 2009.
Tyler and Verma were listed in the Charge sheet for the offence of cheating under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Tyler was granted bail after he appeared in the Summons. Later, Verma who was in Tihar jail was also granted bail.
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