Delhi court denies CBI custodial interrogation of DRI officer in bribery case

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) A Delhi court has denied the CBI the custodial interrogation of a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officer and two middlemen arrested in connection with a Rs 3-crore bribery case earlier this month.

Special Judge Virender Bhat on Monday dismissed the agency's application for custodial interrogation and remanded the accused persons -- Chander Shekhar, Additional Director General, DRI, Ludhiana, and Anup Joshi, Clearing House Agent, and Rajesh Dhanda, a close friend of Shekhar -- to judicial custody till January 20.

The judge said the application lacked 'merit'.

He also said the arguments put forward by the public prosecutor on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were 'totally identical' to the contents of an application and submissions made on behalf of the agency before another judge on January 2.

On January 2, all the three accused were produced before a trial court, which sent them to judicial custody while denying the CBI's application for their custodial interrogation.

'The application filed today does not contain any fresh averment or any fresh ground which may warrant considerations of the prayer of CBI afresh,' the court said on Monday.

It accepted the arguments advanced by advocate Arshdeep Singh, appearing for one of the accused, that the bribe money had already been recovered and the voice samples of Dhanda and Joshi had been obtained while Shekhar had refused to give his voice sample.

'In these circumstances, the prosecutor was unable to satisfy this court as to why the police custody remand of the accused persons is required. He was unable to explain the contents and particulars of the documents stated to have (been) seized from the office of DRI at Ludhiana, regarding which the further questioning of the accused persons is needed.

'From the submissions of the prosecutor itself, it appears that no further recovery is to be made in this case and the investigation is almost complete. Hence, no merit is found in the application and the same is hereby dismissed,' the judge said.

The CBI had sought seven-day remand of the accused for further interrogation and confrontation with documents.

It is alleged that in June 2019, the DRI had conducted a search at a private clearing agency which provides services to various exporters, the CBI said, adding that some documents pertaining to an exporter were also seized.

The complainant alleged that Joshi and Dhanda demanded Rs 3 crore on behalf of Shekhar to ensure that he is not implicated by the DRI over the documents recovered, the agency said.

According to the CBI, Joshi and Dhanda were arrested while receiving Rs 25 lakh as the first installment of the bribe.

During the questioning, the middlemen told the sleuths that the bribe was for the officer, the agency said.

Searches are being conducted in New Delhi, Noida and Ludhiana, it said. PTI UK UK DIV DIV