Perturbed over the CBI raids at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary, Delhi government on Friday charged the probe agency with conducting the searches under “undue political pressure” and “malafidely intruding” in its working.
The AAP government, in its submission before Delhi High Court, also accused CBI of raiding the office of Rajendra Kumar, located next to the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat, in “unprecedented haste” and “indiscriminately” seizing documents, an act which smacked of “vindictiveness and arbitrariness”.
Opposing CBI’s plea seeking stay and quashing of a trial court’s direction to return some documents seized by it during the December 15, 2015 raid, the AAP government said “CBI has filed the frivolous, baseless, vexatious and merit less petition with obtuse motives and the same is liable to be dismissed with heavy cost.”
The Delhi government’s affidavit, which was filed after Justice P S Teji sought their stand on CBI’s petition, said the raid at Delhi Secretariat was “not only devoid of merit but also smacked of vindictiveness and arbitrariness”.
“In the instant case, CBI proceeded and acted with unprecedented haste for the obvious obtuse reason under undue political pressure in as much as CBI failed to requisition the relevant files to verify the allegation, at first instance from Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the concerned department which were under scanner in FIR/RC (regular case). If CBI was to follow the rules, law and laid down statutory procedures and guidelines, then there was absolutely no need to raid at the said premises and much less seize indiscriminately the documents unrelated to the case,” the 38- page reply, filed through Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra and standing counsel Richa Kapoor, said.
They said the petition filed by CBI was an “abuse of process of law, not maintainable and is liable to be dismissed at the threshold”.
The trial court’s special judge on January 20 had also castigated the CBI for flouting its own manual by seizing documents without showing how they were related to the alleged graft case against Kumar.
CBI, in its petition, had claimed that the Special CBI Judge had failed to appreciate that the Delhi government has already obtained photocopies of the documents seized and thus the order of returning the documents was “wholly misconceived”.
CBI had claimed that the trial judge had also failed to appreciate that the right of investigation was its inherent right which cannot be curtailed by passing such orders.
On the contrary, the AAP government said the agency has “miserably failed to explain the relevancy of the documents pertaining to Delhi government which are totally unrelated for the purposes of investigating, either before the trial court or before the High Court, seized indiscriminately by the CBI on December 15, 2015 from the office of the Chief Minister, under the garb of search warrants”.
“In any event, the Special Judge had granted liberty to the CBI, if required, to seize back any of released documents in original during the investigation, in accordance with law”.
Maintaining that the sole object of the raid was to “malafidely intrude, obstruct and dislocate” its working, it said “that inspite of allegation in the FIR/RC being specific to department such as Power, Delhi Jal Board, Health and Trade & Taxes relating to limited period from 2007 till August 2014, CBI still intentionally carried out indiscriminate search, firstly targeting the said premises and seized documents which were either unrelated to the case, nor were connected with accused persons but rather pertained to Delhi government.
“Thus the order of January 20, 2016 being passed on sound reasoning, is totally correct on law and facts, requiring no interference. Hence the petition is liable to be dismissed,” the Delhi government said in their reply.
It said the functioning of the “democratically elected government was sought to jeopardised when on December 15, 2015 CBI arbitrarily targeted to raid the office of Rajender Kumar and “indiscriminately seized the documents unrelated for investigation into the allegation of case registered against Kumar and other.”
“It is highly improbable that a person accused of an offence relating to abuse of his official position while functioning as erstwhile postings on previous occasions in different other departments, would carry with him all such files to the office of current posting where he is holding charges as principal secretary of Chief Minister,” it said.
CBI had registered a corruption case against Kumar and others on the allegations that he had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders from Delhi government department.
Yesterday, the High Court refrained from passing an order on CBI’s plea seeking stay of a trial court’s order and had listed the matter for further consideration on January 25. It had asked the Delhi government to file their response, which they did today. Now the agency will have to respond to the Delhi government’s reply by Saturday.
The state government said the CBI petition was filed with “oblique motives in order circumvent the prescribed procedures of their own CBI manual which are binding in law, with intention to arbitrarily target the functioning of democratically elected Delhi government, is liable to be dismissed with heavy cost.
“That apart from vindictiveness and targeted decision to search the said premises, raiding team of CBI in the instant case grossly misconducted themselves during the raid and caused indiscriminate seizure of documents, which are totally non-essential for the purpose of investigation under the garb of search warrants,” the reply said.
“CBI has thrown to winds all procedure safeguards while conducting raid… which it had blatantly violated the provision of its CBI manual which is binding in nature and have statutory force,” it added.