A Delhi court on February 4 asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to explain how Swami Aseemananda’s ‘confession’ on his alleged role in Ajmer blast became public. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Tis Hazari Courts Shri Sanjay Bansal directed CBI ASP TR Balaji to explain how the statement was leaked to Tehelka magazine.
The court was hearing a plea by Shri Devender Gupta, who is presently in judicial custody at central jail of Ajmer for his alleged role in 2008 Ajmer blast. The CBI has been asked to file its response by February 15. “It is most appropriate that a report be called from the CBI as to how the said confessional statement has been leaked to the media. Therefore, I defer the order on the (Gupta’s) application,” the Magistrate said.
Shri Gupta filed his plea last month and referred to a series of rulings by the apex court and high courts to demonstrate that the court has all the requisite powers to order a probe into the leakage of Aseemananda’s confessions made to a magisterial court. Shri Gupta pointed out that an offence of a serious nature had been committed with the leakage of the confession made by Aseemananda accepting that Hindu activists were to blame for a string of bombings in the country. In his plea Shri Gupta sought action against Shri T Rajah Balaji, ASP, CBI, Anand Media Pvt Ltd (owner of Tehelka Magazine), Neena Tejpal Sharma (printer and publisher of Tehelka magazine) and Tarunjit Tejpal (editor of Tehelka magazine).
Aseemananda’s confession was recorded in Delhi by a metropolitan magistrate on December 18. Shri Gupta claimed that the leakage of the statement would not only cause ‘prejudice’ to his right to fair trial but had also given a tool to Pakistan. “The chosen extracts from the alleged statement of Aseemananda was published in the newspapers as well as in Tehelka magazine (issue dated January 31, 2011). In fact, Tehelka magazine on page 36 has clearly admitted that it has a copy of the 42 paged statement of Aseemananda. On page 37 of the aforesaid issue, it has shockingly published a photo showing the pages of the Court record under title, Proceedings for recording of confessional statement of Naba Kumar Sarkar @ Aseemananda recorded u/s 164 Cr PC in full view, proving that Tehelka magazine chief editor/editor/reporter have the same in their illegal possession. Page 35 of the Magazine (in red coloured portion) carries the photo in the background of the handwritten confessional statement of the learned Magistrate. The signatures of the Magistrate are also visible along with date, which prima facie proves that the Tehelka magazine has somehow obtained illegally a copy of the said statement. How they received a copy of the Court proceedings/Court Record needs a thorough investigation/judicial enquiry. The complainant has every apprehension and even the facts and circumstances clearly point out that the said statement was illegally published in connivance with the aforesaid IO and the aforesaid persons of the Tehalka magazine and others for their illegal and pecuniary gain and also with malice. The aforesaid illegal act was done under a conspiracy hatched by the aforesaid accused persons. This shows that the secrecy and sanctity of the judicial proceeding has been breached and the confidentiality and secrecy of the said proceedings blasted, which immediately needs a high level judicial enquiry to find out the real culprit who has insulted the Court and the Court proceeding as the might of Judicial System has been marred and the fairness of the judicial system has been holed,” said Shri Gupta in his plea.
“This leakage has opened an additional fora of Media Trial to prejudice the minds of the Court in violation of the rights of the accused in custody. It has also given a handle to neighbouring country Pakistan to press their improper demands deliberately. In other trials the investigating agencies have never released the statements of accused to the press. This is being done due to undue political pressure, under vote-bank policy, and to gain political mileage and defame the innocent complainant/applicant [in JC], which is from the beginning, is interfering in the investigation of the case,” he said in his plea.
He alleged that the leakage of the statement was deliberate, intentional, insidious and malicious with the sinister motive to insult and interrupt the judicial proceeding and before the case is finally heard and hence has spiteful and pernicious consequences. “That such an Act aimed at influencing the result of a pending trial not only has the potential to interfere with the due course of justice but is also a criminal wrong and amounts to violation of legally prescribed procedure and is an offence u/s 166 IPC, 228 IPC, for which the Investigating Officer is also liable,” he added.
In his plea Shri Gupta also questioned the recording of Swami Aseemananda’s statement in Delhi. “It is surprising that when Swami Aseemananda was in Hyderabad for about 2 month, such alleged confessional statement was not recorded there. But under mysterious circumstances, the statement was suddenly got recorded before Shri Deepak Dabas, MM Delhi, where even the trial was not even going on. Mysteriously he was brought to Delhi without following the due procedure with a malafide intention to harm the rights of the complainant. The statement ought to have been sealed and handed over to the IO/Staff. Thereafter, illegally the statement was photocopied/scanned by accused herein. Later the accused herein got the Court record/ Court proceedings published in various newspapers, magazines and also got it aired on TV Channels with malice and for their illegal gain and motive. There was no permission of the Court to do so. As such the confessional statement was dishonestly and fraudulently misappropriated and converted to its own dirty use by persons to whom it was entrusted,” he said in his plea.