The counsels for former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were engaged in a spat when his bail petition came up for hearing in the principal court for CBI cases here on Saturday.

It all started with the CBI expressing inability to advance argument as the Additional Solicitor General of India Vivek Tankha did not turn up thinking a memo by the defence seeking transfer of the bail application to a different court could be heard first.

However, the judge, A. Pullaiah, dismissed the memo and asked the CBI to present its argument as noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani finished his version of bail for Mr. Reddy on April 13. Mr. Jethmalani also came to the court to hear the opposition to bail by the CBI and give a short reply.

As the CBI lawyers urged the judge to adjourn the hearing to Monday in view of Mr. Tankha's absence, the defence counsels stuck to their stand that they would have nothing of it as such a long interval between two hearings was deliberately taken by the agency to ensure the attendance of Mr. Tankha.

A defence lawyer E. Uma Maheswara Rao asked why his client should spend lakhs of rupees to employ the services of Mr. Jethmalani for no fault of his. It was also not easy to bring Mr. Jethmalani every time.

He wanted the CBI to bear the cost of travel by Mr. Jethmalani if the adjournment was to be conceded. Mr. Jethmalani, on the other hand, said he could not come back on Monday.

The judge offered to take up the hearing on Sunday in view of the peculiar circumstances. Mr. Jethmalani also agreed to the arrangement but a CBI lawyer, meanwhile, kicked off a fresh controversy saying the deployment of the former was part of the tactics of the defence. Mr. Jethmalani took offence to the comment even as Mr. Rao demanded an apology from that lawyer.

Case posted to May 5

The standoff ended with the judge posting the case to May 5 and warning the CBI that he would pass order straightaway if it failed to present its argument that day.