Photo credit: IANS
New Delhi, Jan. 18 (IANS) The CBI on Monday urged the Supreme Court to transfer the alleged sexual CD case, where Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is accused, to Delhi.
A bench composed of Judges Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah said: “List the cases on 11.02.2021 for a final decision. The parties’ lawyers can complete the pleadings in the meantime.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, argued in court that some witnesses involved in the case are under threat because one of the defendants, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, is an influential person. Mehta said some witnesses came from Delhi and Bombay and urged the highest court to move the trial outside of Chhattisgarh, preferably Delhi.
Senior lawyer ANS Nadkarni, representing co-accused Kailash Murarka, said it would be appropriate for the Chhattisgarh to be implicated as a party to the plea, as several allegations have been made against the state government. The judiciary said it would consider this aspect at the next hearing.
Rasjeet Singh Khanuja, who claimed to be a witness in the CBI case, argued in his plea that he was withheld by the state government in another case related to incitement to suicide, and requested a CBI investigation into this matter. Khanuja’s plea was challenged by lead lawyer AM Singhvi and lawyer Sumeer Sodhi, representing the state government.
In October 2019, the highest court suspended the criminal trial over the alleged sex CD and requested Baghel’s response to CBI’s request to move the case out of state.
The CBI requested the transfer of the case, as the accused is now the chief minister and raised the likelihood of witnesses being compelled. In 2017, the CBI filed a complaint against Baghel, then president of the Chhattisgarh Congress. A complaint was lodged that Baghel allegedly tried to trick then state minister of disabled people and BJP chief Rajesh Munat into the fake sex CD case.
Munat had filed a complaint against Baghel and senior journalist Vinod Verma for allegedly tarnishing his image. The then BJP government in the state transferred the case to the CBI.
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Update: January 18-2021