New Delhi [India], Aug 5 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday allowed Sartaj Ali, the Managing Director of Nice Projects Limited, to appear before Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning through video-conferencing in connection with the Mumbai International Airport scam case.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru's directions came after the CBI agreed to question Ali via video conferencing. Ali's petition was filed by Advocate Urfee Haider and Kunal Srivastava and argued by Advocate Vijay Aggarwal.
Arguing for Ali, advocate Aggarwal said that the petitioner was a senior citizen of 67 years of age and had health issues and sought that he be made to join investigation only in his residence.
He also said that the petitioner is susceptible to contact COVID-19 if mandated to travel from Delhi to Mumbai as the same shall include transit at airports, flights, etc. and shall also involve the Petitioner to stay at Mumbai. He stated that the situation of Mumbai is worsening day by day and Maharashtra is at the peak in coronavirus spread.
It was further argued that a person, who is above the age of 65 years, cannot be called to the Police station to join the investigation. Aggarwal also argued that an accused cannot be made to join the investigation at a place beyond the Police Station of the CBI, whereas in the present case the CBI was in Mumbai and the petitioner was resident of Delhi.
He argued that the need of providing protection to persons of more than 65 years of age from the summoning by the investigating agency other than investigating them at their residence was imperative, which pushed the legislature to specifically include it in the proviso to Section 160 (1) CrPC through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, of 2013.
Advocate Aggarwal stated that the objective of such an amendment can be traced from the Standing Committee Report, Rajya Sabha on Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, which stated that "This is the protection being given to them so that they are not summoned unnecessarily".
The ground raised by the Petitioner was that it is well settled that where a statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular manner, then it has to be done in that manner, and in no other manner. In view of the same, he argued that the world is functioning on Video Conferencing and that the Petitioner be also permitted to join the investigation on any video conferencing platform, such as Zoom/Webex.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal also stated that even the Government of India in the Unlock 3.0 Guidelines of COVID-19 has advised senior citizens to stay at home.
Therefore, he prayed that the Petitioner may be allowed to join an investigation through video conferencing in the prevailing circumstances.
The CBI has registered a case against GVK Group, its directors, officials of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) and Airport Authority of India accusing them of causing a wrongful causing loss to the public exchequer of approximately Rs 805 crores.
The investigating agency has registered the case under various charges dealing with cheating, forgery, and criminal conspiracy and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Earlier, the Economic Offences Wing had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against the chairman of GVK Group of companies and the MIAL managing director in connection with the case. (ANI)