New Delhi: The Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday accused Special Judge O.P. Saini of being directionless and diffident while delivering his verdict in a 2G Spectrum case.
The CBI in its appeal filed before the Delhi High Court in March this year mentioned that Special Judge O.P. Saini “had not applied his mind” while delivering his verdict in the 2G case last December, which ensured the acquittal of Raja and others in what it called one of the biggest scams to hit the country.
Special Judge Saini had made the mistake of taking the statements of all of the accused as “gospel truth” and ignoring the material evidence available as well the statements of reliable witnesses, added CBI.
In its verdicts of 21 December 2017, on the 2G spectrum case Saini had acquitted Raja, his party colleague Kanimozhi and several top corporate honchos, including Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, D B Realty chief Shahid Balwa, and others on December 21, 2017, while accusing the CBI of failing to prove its case.
The petition further stated that Judge Saini ignored testimonies of reliable witnesses, including then Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, former telecom secretary D S Mathur and Asheervatham Achary, former additional private secretary to Raja, among others.
He also committed a grave error by wrongly interpreting provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), stating that once the accused are acquitted in connection with a scheduled offence, they have to be acquitted for the offence of money laundering, as once the crime goes, there can’t be any offence for having the proceeds of crime, which is completely erroneous and contrary to the schemes and provisions of PMLA 2002.
According to sources the trial court failed to appreciate that the investigation for the offence of money laundering is not like a police investigation. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the statements recorded by the police or CBI under Section 161 of CRPC are not admissible as evidence.