Winding up arguments on the request of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for judicial custody of former Ministers Dharmana Prasada Rao and P. Sabitha Indra Reddy, a court on Thursday reserved its order for August 7.

The CBI wanted both of them to be sent to jail as a couple of TV channels showed them saying “our innocence (in the assets case against Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy) is going to be proved in court”.

This amounted to issuing threats to witnesses, who were supposed to produce evidence against them. But, the defence argued that the remarks were read in isolation as though they were relevant to the case. The allegations against the ex-Ministers, which were history as the charge sheet was already filed, could not curtail their liberty for speech.

The defence lawyer, E. Uma Maheswara Rao, who began his reply to the CBI’s stand, said his clients spoke to the media within powers guaranteed by the Constitution. The CBI failed to show to the court the remarks that posed the danger of influencing witnesses. Mr. Rao said the accused were emboldened to speak out probably because they passed through investigation and faced court initially without any hiccups. Their conscience was clear that they would come out clean. They expressed confidence in themselves. Was it wrong?

The special public prosecutor of CBI, K. Surender, said the accused had a right to issue a denial about their role before the charge sheet was filed.

CBI fails to show the court the remarks that posed the danger of influencing witnesses