A special court has refused to allow businessman Devendra Darda, an accused in two coal scam cases, to travel abroad saying the inquiry into the visitors’ diary of official residence of former CBI chief Ranjit Sinha was pending.
The court noted that the inquiry being conducted by CBI’s former special director CBI M L Sharma is to primarily focus on alleged meetings the then CBI Director had with Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda and his son Devendra Darda at his official residence in the absence of investigating officers (IOs).
It also referred to the December 7 order passed by the apex court directing that original visitors’ diary of Sinha’s official residence, which was lying in a sealed cover in Supreme Court, be handed over to the inquiry officer.
“Thus, as the visitors’ register maintained at the residence of Ranjit Sinha has now been ordered to be supplied to M L Sharma, the inquiry officer, by Supreme Court and the report of the enquiry has been called for within a period of 8-12 weeks, so I am of the considered opinion that it will not be appropriate to grant permission to applicant Devender Darda to travel abroad during the period of pendency of the enquiry proceedings,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.
Devendra had sought court’s permission to travel to Dubai and Kenya from December 22 till January 2, 2016 on account of certain business commitments.
His advocate Vijay Aggarwal told the court that till now, Devendra has not been called by the inquiry officer.
He said his client was ready to appear before the inquiry officer and would also give an undertaking to appear either before the court or the inquiry officer during the period within 48 hours of receiving any notice.
Senior public prosecutor A P Singh opposed his plea saying IO of the case was summoned by the inquiry officer on a number of occasions but on account of non-availability of the visitors’ register maintained at the official residence of the former CBI chief, the inquiry could not proceed further.
He said as the Supreme Court has now ordered that this register be handed over to the inquiry officer, the plea of the accused should be dismissed as it may hamper the smooth and expeditious conclusion of the proceedings.
Devendra, his father Vijay Darda and various others are accused in two separate coal scam cases pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocations of Bander coal block in Maharashtra and Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh.
All the accused have denied allegations levelled against them by the CBI. PTI