Bail pleas of two former Navy Commanders, accused in 2006 Naval war room leak case, were today opposed in the Delhi High Court by the CBI which said they cannot claim benefit of delay in the trial as one of them had taken several adjournments in the lower court.
“So far as the issue of delay is concerned, it is not a ground for the bail as the delay, if any, has been caused by the accused (former naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar) himself,” the counsel for CBI told Justice V K Shali.
The CBI referred to a list of dates relating to the trial court proceedings, contending that Parashar had sought adjournments on the ground that he was to move the apex court for some clarifications in the case.
“Parashar took adjournments in the lower court on the ground that he will seek clarifications on an earlier Supreme Court direction, passed on August 24, 2009, that the trial judge will not pronounce the final judgement till the pendency of the plea before it,” it said.
The agency said the accused cannot claim parity with those enlarged on bail as there was a distinction between the accused who had access to secret information and those who passed them on.
Parashar and Vijender Rana, sacked Naval Commander, had moved their bail applications on various grounds including parity as other accused have been granted bail in the case.
The accused have also said that they are in jail for nearly six years without any trial as charges have not been framed yet in the case. The advancement of arguments remained inconclusive and would continue on March 7.
Rana, in the bail plea, said he is in jail since April 5, 2006 without any trial as the charges against him and other five accused are yet to be framed.
Besides Rana and Parashar, other accused in the case are sacked Naval Commander V K Jha, former IAF Wing Commander S L Surve, businessman Abhishek Verma and Ravi Shankaran, a kin of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash who has been declared a proclaimed offender.
They have been charge sheeted under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC to commit offence under the Officials Secret Act for allegedly conspiring to leak in 2006 about 7000 pages of defence information of sensitive nature from the Naval war room and air defence headquarters, which have a direct bearing on national security.
Other accused, except Shankaran, have been granted bail.
CBI had filed its first charge sheet on July 3, 2006 against Shankaran and four former senior defence officials in the case.
In its second charge sheet, the agency made city-based businessman Abhishek Verma accused for allegedly conspiring to obtain the documents.
Verma was handling the Indian affairs of Altas Group of Industries and had received remittances to the tune of Rs 6.5 crore, ostensibly for paying bribes to defence personnel for obtaining information of various purchases to be made by the military, the charge sheet said.
The Atlas Group of Companies filed bids for communication equipment required by the armed forces but none of the contracts had been finalised so far, CBI had said.
CBI had registered the case on March 20, 2006 on a reference from Defence Ministry and after scrutiny of inquiry held by Indian Air Force against Surve and Board of Inquiry conducted by Indian Navy.
Parashar was arrested at the airport here on April five on his return from London following which nationwide searches were carried out at 20 premises of the six accused.
-via Outlook India