NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed the trial court to complete in a year the proceedings against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in a corruption case.
The top court fixed the time limit in the case in which controversial businessman Abhishek Verma was also involved.
A bench of justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar allowed Tytler to withdraw his plea challenging the October 17, 2017, order of the Delhi High Court.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tytler, earlier said that he sought liberty to withdraw the plea.
The high court had upheld the charges framed by a trial court against Tytler and Verma in the graft case.
The high court had dismissed the petitions of Tytler and Verma, an alleged arms dealer, challenging the trial court's order putting them on trial in the case for allegedly using a forged letter, typed on the letterhead of then minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken and addressed to then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.
The trial court had on December 9, 2015 framed charges against Tytler, who is out on bail, for alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act dealing with taking gratification by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant.
Verma, who is also on bail, was put on trial for alleged offences under sections 120-B read with 420, 471, 511 (attempt to commit an offence) of the IPC and under section 8 of the PC Act.
If convicted the offences entail a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment.
The trial court had framed charges against Tytler and Verma while observing that it was evident that the former had full knowledge of the nature and purpose of transaction being entered into between Verma and officials of M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd.
The court had said prima facie, both the accused had tried to cheat the officials of ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd on the basis of the forged letter and Verma had demanded bribe of Rs 50 lakh to sort out the visa issue of their employees.
The CBI had chargesheeted both the accused alleging that M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd was adversely affected by the order in which it was said that all foreigners, who were already in India on business visas and engaged in executing projects or contracts, should leave the country on expiry of their existing visas or by October 31, 2009, whichever was earlier.
It had also alleged that a meeting took place at Tytler's residence where Verma and the firm's officials were present.
At another meeting, the purported forged letter of then minister Ajay Maken, addressed to the prime minister, was shown to make them believe that the visa problem was being sorted out through them, the CBI had alleged.