Staff Reporter

Relating to purchase of computers worth Rs. 12 crore

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has accepted the locus standi of an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientist to file a review petition challenging the closure by the Central Bureau of Investigation of a case relating to purchase of computers worth Rs. 12 crore by the Council.

Scientist S.S. Tomar alleged that the CBI had closed the corruption case in 2003 by replacing the investigating officer who had recommended prosecution of senior ICAR officials involved in the deal.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat accepted the locus standi of Mr. Tomar, overruling objections by the investigating agency that he could not file the petition as he was in no way related to the purchase of computers.

Mr. Tomar levelled the allegation against the investigating agency after inspecting the file of the case at the CBI headquarters here following a direction by the Central Information Commission to the agency to allow him to read the same.

Mr. Justice Bhat had on March 19 this year also dismissed a plea by counsel for the agency to dismiss the revision petition because it was time-barred.

Mr. Tomar said the investigating agency had processed the case file for prosecution of Dr. A.P. Saxena, Project Director, National Agricultural Research Project (NARP), Dr. S.L. Mehta, former Deputy Director-General (Education) and at present Vice-Chancellor of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur, in Rajasthan and others but all of a sudden the investigating officer was replaced by another officer who recommended closure of the case saying that sufficient material was not available on record for prosecution.

The investigating agency filed a closure report in a special court for CBI cases here in the case in 2003 on the ground that “sufficient evidence was not available”.

The closure report said the agency had recommended that the ICAR take such action as it deemed fit against the erring officials connected with the purchase of the computers for committing gross irregularities by changing the payment terms and for their failure to ensure timely installation of the desktops.

The Special Judge had in February 2004 accepted the closure report and permitted the CBI to close the case.

The revision petition will now come up for hearing on September 11.