New Delhi: The year saw trial courts here dealing with high-profile cases involving Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and liquor baron Vijay Mallya while the attack on JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar by men in black robes also made news.
The image of the judiciary was dented when a woman judge was trapped by CBI for allegedly taking bribe for a deal in which her lawyer husband was also arrested.
Kumar, who was slapped with sedition charge for taking part in a controversial event in JNU campus where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, was roughed up by advocates inside the Patiala House court complex, with the incident leaving a black spot as Delhi Police failed to produce the student leader unharmed in the court.
Besides Kumar and some other students, sedition charge was also invoked against former Delhi University lecturer SAR Gilani, exonerated in the 2001 Parliament attack case, who was arrested for organising an event where too alleged anti-India slogans were raised days after the JNU incident.
The CBI was caught in a peculiar situation after top bureaucrat B K Bansal committed suicide along with his son just a month before his retirement, blaming the agency in the suicide note for harassing the family during investigation in the corruption case against him.
As the case was being heard in the court, Bansal, Director General (Corporate Affairs), took the extreme step days after his wife and daughter also committed suicide following his arrest.
Mallya, who is in UK, was not spared by the judiciary and in a double whammy, two non-bailable warrants were issued against him, with a judge observing that “he neither has any regard for law, nor any intention to return to India.”
Names of famous Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan also cropped up in the Delhi courts, where singer and music composer Mika Singh too made his appearance in a criminal case filed against him by a doctor.
Besides this, the city courts also dealt with terror-related matters including ones related to Indian Mujahideen’s key operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa and Khalistani Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, while several other suspects were arrested for their alleged links with ISIS.
While the Kejriwal government and Delhi Police were at loggerheads on various issues including appointment of state prosecutors, several AAP legislators faced cases of heinous crimes ranging from rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, threat to women, attempt to murder and abatement of suicide of woman party worker during the year.
Though Kejriwal made headlines at regular intervals for criminal defamation cases lodged against him by Union minister Arun Jaitley, BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri and Amit Sibal, son of Congress leader Kapil Sibal, the AAP government was left embarrassed when one of its ministers Sandeep Kumar was sent to two months in jail after a CD containing alleged sex scandal surfaced. Kumar was immediately expelled by AAP and removed from the government.
The AAP government was also pushed to the backfoot after CBI arrested and named in a charge sheet Kejriwal’s close aid and principal secretary Rajendra Kumar in a graft case.
While AAP leader Somnath Bharti was slapped with domestic violence case, another party leader Alka Lamba and assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel faced cases of assault.
DCW chief Swati Maliwal was also named in a charge sheet in a special court by the Anti-Corruption Branch in a case of alleged irregularities in recruitment in the women’s panel.
While AAP leaders made news from all the six trial courts of Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Dwarka, Saket and Rohini, Congress too had anxious moments when former IAF chief S P Tyagi, arrested in connection with the Rs 450 crore VVIP chopper bribery case, sought to drag the Prime Minister’s Office for the Rs 3,600 crore deal finalised in 2010.
BJP leader and former junior minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Dilip Ray, was also summoned as accused in a coal scam case.
Congress continued to battle in Patiala House Court the National Herald case with its top leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi securing a minor relief of exemption from personal appearance, but BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the complainant in the case, left no stone unturned as he resorted to all legal tactics.
The ghost of coal block allocation scam continued to haunt the Congress with some of its leaders like Naveen Jindal, Dasari Narayan Rao and Vijay Darda facing the heat of the special court, which concluded two cases of Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited and Rathi Steel and Power Ltd (RSPL) by convicting all accused awarding varying jail terms.
Congress also had an unpleasant moment when its 70-year-old leader from northeast, P K Thungon, was held guilty in a 22-year-old graft case and awarded three-and-a half year imprisonment.
Similar was the case of former Haryana Speaker and INLD leader Satbir Singh Kadian, who was awarded the maximum sentence of seven years in a 20-year-old Indian Farmers FertilisersIFFCO graft case.
Other bigwigs who had a tough time in various trial courts included DMK leader and former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his businessman brother Kalanithi Maran who were named in a charge sheet in Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
The recent amendment in the law allowing trial of children between 16-18 years as adults in cases of heinous offences was also heard by the court after a teenager allegedly ran over a 32-year-old marketing executive while rashly driving his father’s Mercedes.
Crime against women saw filmmaker of “Peepli Live” fame Mahmood Farooqui going to jail for seven years for raping a US national and death sentence to two killers — Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla — in the infamous Jigisha Ghosh murder case of 2009.
The trial court in Tis Hazari delivered life sentence till death to five vagabonds for raping a Danish national in 2014, with the judge making a hard-hitting observation that the incident brought “disrepute” and “shame” to the country. Even as decorated environmentalist and academician R K Pachauri struggled to defend himself in sexual harassment case.
The year-end saw the contentious demonetisation issue reaching the doors of the court as two Axis Bank managers and another person being arrested for their alleged role in a money laundering probe into purported illegal conversion of demonetised notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500.
First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 16:26 IST