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Tuesday, September 8, 1998
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Arif, Jain brothers acquitted in hawala case
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sept 7 — A Delhi court today discharged former Union Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party MP Arif Mohammad Khan in the Rs 65 crore Jain hawala case.

Special Judge V.B. Gupta, in his 132-paged order, also discharged the three Jain brothers — Mr N.K. Jain, Mr S.K. Jain, Mr B.R. Jain and their secretary, Mr J.K. Jain, all co-accused in the case.

The judge said there was no material evidence on record to frame charges against them.

"I find that there is no evidence against any of the accused persons which can be converted into legal evidence", the judge said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had alleged that Mr Arif Mohammad Khan had received more than Rs 6.5 crore from the Jain brothers for awarding a contract to French company Aelsthom when he was a public servant.

The agency had said that the Jain brothers had paid the bribe money to Mr Khan, who was Union Minister of State for Energy during December 1989 to March 1991, on behalf of the French company.

The court held that prima facie there was no evidence on record to substantiate the allegation.

"In addition to the diaries, there has to be corroborative evidence and prima facie in the present case there is no such evidence except the entries made in the diaries where no specific date, time or place of the alleged payment has been mentioned," the judge observed.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court, while quashing proceedings against BJP leader L.K. Advani and Congress leader Mr V.C. Shukla, had ruled that diaries, loose sheets and notebooks could not be treated as legal evidence.

Mr Khan, the 34th accused to be discharged in the case, was not present in the court when Mr Gupta pronounced the judgement at 1130 hours.

He is away in Moscow as part of a 10-member Indian delegation to attend the inter-parliamentary union (IPU) conference.

"Right from day one, there was no evidence showing any favour in the award of the Kawas project to Aelsthom. The decision to award the contract to the company had been taken even before Mr Khan became the minister as Aelsthom was the lowest bidder," Mr Khan’s counsel M.P. Singh told mediapersons soon after the order was pronounced.

With this order, 26 politicians and eight bureaucrats have been acquitted in the case so far.

The cases relating to Mr Sharad Yadav, Mr Hari Narain, Mr M.P. Narayanan, Mr N. Venkatraman, Mr B.R. Desikachari and Mr S. Ranganathan are pending with the Delhi High Court.

Mr Desikachari had turned approver and was granted immunity by Mr Gupta in April, 1997, which was challenged by Mr Narayanan in the Delhi High Court. The High Court had stayed the trial proceedings in the case.

Now Mr Narayanan has himself moved an application for vacation of the stay. The matter is to come up before Justice J.B. Goel tomorrow.

The only scam case left with the trial court is that of Mr Bal Ram Jakhar.

The court had framed charges against Mr Jakhar on September 3, 1997, which was challenged by him in the High Court. But the High Court refused to stay the trial proceedings against him.

Last week Mr Gupta requisitioned the papers pertaining to Mr Jakhar’s case from the court. The matter has been put up for prosecution evidence on September 15.

All orders of discharge by the trial court came after the Delhi High Court judgement in BJP leader L.K. Advani’s case in April last year in which it held that mere entries of names in the diaries in coded form without any independent corroborative evidence could not be termed admissible under the Indian Evidence Act.

The Apex court in March, 1998, upheld the High Court order which said that the Jain diaries in the case were inadmissible while discharging Congress leader V.C. Shukla.back

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