Order Reserved on Bail Petition of Excise Official
A Delhi court today reserved its order on the bail pleas of a senior excise official and an alleged middleman, arrested for their alleged roles in helping two businessman evade excise duty for a hefty bribe.

Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh reserved his order for March 6 on the bail pleas of Central Excise Commissioner A K Srivastava and alleged conduit Hemant Gandhi after hearing arguments of counsel for the CBI and the two accused.

"Put up for orders on March 6," the judge said.

Srivastava's counsel sought bail saying the probe in the case was complete and the CBI has already filed the charge sheet.

"Srivastava had been conferred with the powers that he can go and raid the godown but no money was recovered from him. It was recovered from Lallan Ojha (another accused in the case)," counsel appearing for Srivastava said.

He said Srivastava's medical condition was not good and right now also he has been admitted in the jail hospital.

The CBI had registered a case against Srivastava, Gandhi, Central Excise Superintendent Lallan Ojha and businessmen Dalip Aggarwal and Anand Aggarwal for their alleged roles in the graft case.

Srivastava, Ojha and Gandhi were arrested by the CBI for allegedly securing a hefty bribe from the two businessmen for not taking action against them in an excise evasion case.

Gandhi sought bail on the ground that the case against him was "politically" motivated and it was a fabricated case.

"It is a politically motivated matter and a fabricated case. The CBI has arrested me and along with other two accused but it has not arrested the two businessmen who are also accused in the case," Gandhi's counsel argued.

The CBI, however, opposed the bail pleas of Srivastava and Gandhi saying they both were previously also convicted in some other criminal case.

The CBI prosecutor opposed Srivastava bail saying even this court had said earlier that he was playing his role from "behind the curtains".

"This was a case in which unauthorised raid was conducted at the instance of Srivastava. Gandhi never told the court he was also convicted in other case. He was sentenced to three years of jail in that case and was also accused in several other criminal cases," said the CBI counsel.

He said as per the report of the medical board of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital, Srivastava's condition was "stable".

The prosecutor also said as Srivastava was holding a high rank in his office, chances of tampering with the evidence were also there.

Meanwhile, businessman Dilip Aggarwal, who is also an accused in the case, appeared before the court today following its summons which were issued yesterday.

The other co-accused Anand Aggarwal, however, sought exemption from personal appearance for today citing his poor health condition.

The court has fixed March 13 for further hearing.

It had earlier taken cognisance of the offences against Ojha, Gandhi, Dilip Aggarwal and Anand Aggarwal under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The court, however, had not taken cognisance of charges against Srivastava as the sanction from concerned authority to prosecute him was still awaited.

The CBI had said Gandhi was in touch with Srivastava, Ojha and others and was acting as a middleman for them to obtain the bribe from the businessmen.

It had alleged that Ojha had conducted a raid along with other excise department officials at Aggarwals' godown and conspired with Srivastava, Gandhi and others for receiving a bribe of Rs 60 lakh for not taking any action against them.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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