The special CBI court on Thursday reserved the order for August 7 on the CBI’s memos seeking judicial custody of former ministers P Sabita Indra Reddy and Dharmana Prasad Rao.
CBI special public prosecutor K Surender said the argument that the two cannot be taken into judicial custody at this stage does not hold water as the court is empowered to send the accused to judicial custody at any point of time.
Moreover, both the accused were let off on Section 88, which does not restrain the court from taking them into custody. That their names appeared in the chargesheet is enough to send them to judicial custody, he said.
Statements in the media that they are innocent and that they have the backing of the CM might threaten witnesses, he claimed.
He said in the past, many accused have been sent to judicial custody in such cases and the two ex-ministers are not an exemption. The accused are claiming that stopping them from making media statements amounts to violation of article 19 (1) A, whereas the truth is that they themselves are violating the article by making statement, he said.
Defence counsel Umamaheshwar Rao said there was nothing in the two memos of the CBI that could be considered as evidence to send his clients to judicial custody.
His clients are people’s representatives and to clear the air on the issue they have made media statements To treat it as influencing the witnesses was a wild imagination of the CBI. Moreover, not allowing them to express their views is in violation of article 19(1)A, he said.
“Has any witness complained to the investigating agency that his clients are trying to influence or threaten them? Then, on what basis the CBI was demanding judicial custody of his clients?” he questioned.
When both his clients were ministers and were in a position to influence the witnesses, they did not do so. Now, it is being alleged that they may influence the witnesses. It is hard to believe, he said.
“My clients have been cooperating with the investigating agency and during investigation, the investigating officer has never demanded judicial custody of the two. They are attending court whenever summoned and moreover they have secured section 88 bond. So, where is the need for sending them to judicial custody?” he asked.