Delhi Police Rapped for not responding in the Shanti Bhushan CD Case
The Delhi city police was rapped on Friday by the Delhi High Court for not filing a response on its appeal against a direction by the Central Information Commission. CIC had ordered the city police to bring out in the open the forensic reports of a CD which contained a conversation among senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan and politicians Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Justice Manmohan reportedly directed the counsel for the Delhi Government to attend the next hearing with a suitable reply, when Senior Advocate Jayant Bhushan, representing RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal objected to the demand for adjournment by the counsel for the Delhi Police.
The CD, which surfaced in 2011, contains a conversation wherein Shanti Bhushan reportedly tells SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav that his lawyer-son Prashant Bhushan could fix a judge for a fee and also elucidates a lot on the corruption prevalent in the judiciary.
After the CD came into circulation, Shanti Bhsuhan had filed a complaint with the Delhi Police on April 14, and had alleged that the CD was doctored and fake. The Delhi Police had earlier filed a ‘closure report’ after claiming that the CD is original. This was however rejected by the Tis Hazari Court in 2011 and the Investigating officer had been asked to reinvestigate the matter. Two reports were reportedly submitted by the CFSL, one confirmed the originality of the CD while the other claimed fabrication. The CD was then sent to CERT-In which said that "audio file containing the conversation was continuous with no sign of abrupt changes or editing marks."
In November 2011, CIC had directed the Public Information Officer of Delhi police and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, to provide the reports regarding the doctoring of the CD to RTI Activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal. Agarwal had approached the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Directorate of Forensic Science Services. The application was then forwarded to Delhi police, who did not disclose information on the grounds that it would obstruct the inquiry. The Commission was of the view that the Respondents are prohibited from outrightly invoking the exemption clause under Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act while denying information as sought by the Appellant through his 3 (three) RTI Applications. CIC had then directed a para-wise reply to each of the queries.
Delhi High Court had stayed the CIC order soon after, in December. Justice Vipin Sanghi had accepted Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok’s arguments which the matter is sub judice as the said closure report was yet to be accepted by the trial Court.
Mr. Bhushan had earlier claimed PMO’s role in the issue and had allegedly stated that “The interest taken by the Home Minister P. Chidambaram in this matter and the PMO in revealing the Delhi CSFL report while withholding the Chandigarh CFSL report shows that the government is behind the dissemination of this fabrication, if not the actual fabrication itself…This was the beginning of the repeated attempts by the Government to defame important members of the anti-corruption campaign — an attempt which continues till this day,”
Read the CIC order of November, 2011, here
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