June 6, 2015 12:34:26 am
The controversy over an accused approaching the trial judge in the coal block allocation case involving industrialist and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal was again raked up before the special court on Friday — this time, with the counsel for Jindal clarifying that he had “enquired” from his client and “found that there was no such act on behalf of his client”.
The special court on Friday was scheduled to hear a plea of Naveen Jindal who wants to go abroad. However, as proceedings began, the drama unfolded in the court — with the counsel for Jindal, senior advocate Hariharan stating that if such an act was done by his client, or if there was the impression that he was involved in any way, he would recuse from the case.
The submissions were made on Friday after special judge Bharat Parashar said that he had been approached more than once by one of the accused, and warned defence lawyers against such a move being repeated.
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The case involves alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal block in Jharkhand to two Jindal group companies, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).
“I have enquired from my client and found that there was no such act on his behalf. Further, through media reports, an impression went around as if my client was involved in any manner. In my 27 years of practice, I have never come across something like this. I will never defend a client, who will indulge in something like this. If something of this sort has ever happened, I am ready to recuse in the case,” said Hariharan.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar replied: “Why are you taking this personally? I never said you did it. No person was mentioned on that day by this court as being specifically involved in such acts. When the court tried to address the issue that there should not be any attempt to over-reach the court or influence it, the message was sought to be conveyed through the counsels. And it happened that you were the senior-most lawyer leading the battery of lawyers.”
Then, Hariharan said, “There is absolutely nothing wrong in the lordship pointing out anything. But the way the media has constructed the issue, has affected us…”
After which judge Parashar said, “I still hold it that any message to be given to the client will be given through the counsel. I will clarify that though there were certain attempts to influence the court, it was never intended to convey that any of the senior advocates much less N Hariharan did that act.”
The court then said it does not “intend to pursue further”. Meanwhile, it allowed Jindal’s plea to travel abroad.
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