New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted interim relief to the CBI by staying a trial court order imposing a cost of Rs 10,000 on its Director of Prosecution for delaying a 36-year-old theft case.
The high court's interim order came on a plea by the CBI challenging the special court order of passing strictures against the agency and its director of prosecution.
It also stayed the trial court order seeking personal appearance of Director of Prosecution of CBI before it on the next date of hearing.
The case relates to the theft of an antique idol from the ancient Takashakeshwar Mahadev temple in Allahabad in 1981 which was being allegedly smuggled to New York. It is probably the oldest pending criminal matter in the country.
Justice Vinod Goel said the special court's September 29 order shall operate only to the extent that the public prosecutor attached to the case shall respond to the clarifications sought by the trial court in the matter which is at its final stage. The high court reserved its order on the CBI's petition seeking to set aside the special court's order in which the agency was pulled up for its decision to transfer a prosecutor from the special court without posting another one in advance.
The remarks were made by Special Judge Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal, who was hearing the case which is now at the stage of final arguments. The trial court had pulled up the CBI for not being vigilant enough to ensure the disposal of this case.
In the high court, the BI counsel argued that there was no laxity on its part and a mere transfer of a prosecutor should not invite such remarks from the court.
Advocates Nikhil Goel and Sanjeev Bhandari, appearing for the CBI, argued that the special judge nowhere mentioned in his order that the prosecutor was unable to answer queries.
They said no inconvenience was caused to the trial court due to the transfer and the finding in the order was "perverse" and it was "gross exceeding of powers by the judicial officer".