A Delhi court today extended by five more days the CBI custody of SP Vivek Dutt, a key member of the coalgate probe, and three others arrested for their alleged roles in a graft case.
Special CBI judge G P Singh allowed the central probe agency's plea seeking extension of their custody by five days, saying that the case has "wide ramifications".
"The case has wide ramifications. Accused were arrested on May 17, produced on May 18 and till date are in police custody. Further police custody remand is sought to unearth the entire conspiracy besides other grounds. Police custody remand of the arrayed accused is granted till May 27," the court said.
The four arrested accused -- Dutt, CBI inspector Rajesh Chandra Karnatak, alleged middleman Rajesh Pachisia and businessman Dinesh Chand Gupta -- were produced before the court after expiry of their one-day CBI custody.
Dutt, Karnatak and Pachisia are accused of taking a bribe of Rs seven lakh from Gupta to favour him in a land dispute case.
During the hearing, CBI sought extension of the custody saying they needed to take voice samples of the accused and they have to be confronted with the recorded conversations.
The agency said they have recovered some mobile phones from the accused and have sent them to a forensic lab and the report is expected today itself.
Advocate Sanjay Abbot, who appeared for Dutt, opposed the CBI's plea saying the probe agency has not given any valid ground for extension of custody.
He said Dutt does not want to give his voice sample to the probe agency and CBI cannot compel him for that. "I do not want to give my voice sample. They (CBI) cannot compel me," Abbot said on his behalf of his client.
Similarly, the counsel appearing for Pachisia and Gupta also said they were not willing to give voice samples to CBI.
The counsel appearing for Gupta opposed the CBI's plea for extending custody, saying nothing else is required for custodial interrogation of the accused persons.
During the hearing, CBI placed before the court the paginated case diary and other seized case property, including cash recovered by agency officials.
Earlier, on May 18 the court had granted three-days custody of the four accused to CBI. Yesterday, the court had extended the CBI custody by one-day.
According to CBI, Dutt and Karnatak were in the same branch in the agency and Pachisia was in regular contact with them.
CBI had informed the court that Gupta had a land dispute and a cheating case was registered against him at Amar Colony police station here.
Dutt used to pressurise Delhi Police officials, who were investigating the cheating case, to quash the FIR and for this, he had demanded Rs 15 lakh from Gupta, it said.
The SHO of Amar Colony police station was initially reluctant, but later succumbed to the pressure and the FIR was quashed, CBI had said.
Pachisia was apprehended while he was handing over Rs seven lakh to Karnatak, CBI had told the court and said that a total of Rs 15 lakh cash was recovered from Pachisia, Karnatak and Gupta.
Dutt, however, claimed innocence and alleged a conspiracy has been hatched to keep him out of the Supreme Court- monitored Coalgate probe team.
Countering the claims, CBI had told the court that they investigated the matter in a fair manner and no injustice was being done to anyone.
It had further said that it had recorded conversations between Dutt and the SHO, and there are four independent witnesses who were present at the time when the cash was recovered from the possession of the accused.