New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought CBI's stand on former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly's plea against a trial court order, which charged her for allegedly taking bribe to recommend to the then NDA government a fake defence gadget supply deal to the Army 11 years ago.

Issuing notice to the CBI on Jaitly's plea, Justice Mukta Gupta sought its reply by August 16.

A special CBI court had on March 5 farmed charges against Jaitly and two others for conspiring with each other and "accepting gratification" for obtaining supply order of a defence equipment, albeit fictitious, for a private firm.

Challenging the framing of charges against Jaitly, her counsel Ram Jethmalani contended before the court that the transcript of video footage does not show any criminality attached to the petitioner as she had merely said that if the product is of good quality, the government should consider the deal in national interest.

The case against Jaitly had been lodged on the basis of a sting 'Operation Westend,' conducted by news portal in 2000, purportedly exposing alleged corruption in defence deals. George Fernandes, founder of Samata party, was the Defence Minister at that time.

The court had framed charges against the trio for offences of criminal conspiracy under IPC and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) dealing with 'taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant'.

Special CBI Judge Kawal Jeet Arora had put Jaitly, her erstwhile party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and retired Major General S P Murgai on trial after they pleaded "not guilty" to the charges framed by the court against them.

The special court had fixed April 20 for the commencement of trial against Jaitly and the two others when recording of statements of the prosecution witnesses would begin.

The trial court had said the three accused, along with one Surender Kumar Surekha who has turned approver, hatched conspiracy to indulge in accepting bribe from Mathew Samuel, representative of M/s Westend International for inducing officials of Ministry of Defence for obtaining supply orders for Hand Held Thermal Imagers (HHTIs) from Army Headquarters in favour of the firm.

The court said being the national president of Samata Party, Jaitly on December 28, 2000 had allegedly accepted Rs two lakh as "gratification" from Samuel at the official residence of Fernandes.


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