By Aakanksha Khajuria
New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) A Delhi court on Tuesday pulled by the CBI for its “slow investigation” into a corruption case against meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi and others, wherein roles of two former agency directors Ranjit Sinha and AP Singh also came under the scanner.
“Four years have passed… no investigation has been done. How many more years will you take? Seven to ten more years?” Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal asked the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The Judge added: “A CBI director is the accused, and the agency is itself investigating the case? I am surprised. This is violation of the principle of natural justice.”
The exporter was arrested in 2017 for allegedly collecting money from individuals directly or through Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Sana Babu and using the funds to influence CBI probes.
The CBI faced the court wrath after its Public Prosecutor said that four of its recent orders dated August 7, August 26, September 26 and October 27 have been challenged before the Delhi High Court and are listed for the day.
Following this, the trial court adjourned the matter to November 24, if the orders are not stayed by the High Court.
In September, the court had frowned on the alleged lack of progress in the case and posed a series of questions to the central agency. It had also asked the agency to file a status report on its probe by October 27.
On the next date of hearing, the court had again taken a strong view of the fact that the CBI had sought time to submit the status report and even summoned the Joint Director who is helming the probe against Qureshi to appear in court on November 17. He, however, did not appear before the court on Tuesday.
The judge had earlier pulled up the agency for not questioning two of its former CBI Directors and posed six questions to the agency, seeking to know why the CBI was dragging its feet in the case, which may lead to an inference that it was not very keen to pursue investigations with respect to them.
The agency was also asked if the alleged role of another ex-Director Alok Verma was under investigation. Verma allegedly stalled or did not allow the investigations to reach their logical end during his tenure.
The CBI had, on September 26, submitted answers to nine questions posed by the Judge. In its reply, the CBI told the court that so far 544 documents had been collected and 63 witnesses examined.
On the actions against public servants for whom Qureshi was allegedly acting as a middleman, the agency said that investigation into their role was underway.
The CBI had told the court that many CBI officers have been examined in connection with this case, including some public servants from the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate.
(Aakanksha Khajuria can be contacted at [email protected])