New Delhi: A journalist involved in Tehelka's expose into fictitious arms deal on Monday refused to depose before a court here as a witness saying the CBI has not reimbursed his travel and other daily expenses.
Mathew Samuel, who conducted the sting on former BJP President Bangaru Laxman and then Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly and other government officials, said he would not depose in the case unless paid Rs 10,000 per day.
Mathew hails from Goa and holds the key to prosecution's case against Hem Chand Pant and Narender Singh, erstwhile civilian officers in the Defence Ministry. He appeared before the court on Monday after a bailable warrant was issued against him on an earlier date and said "it (the demand) has a history".
"In the case against Bangaru Laxman and others, the CBI called me for 25 days. They said they will pay the air fare. I have a history. They have not paid even the Rs 200 daily expense," Mathew told the Special CBI Judge Manoj Jain.
The judge said even though he felt that the "system does not pay adequate amount" to witnesses but the court is bound by law and cannot grant the expenses sought by him.
"After all why should anyone pay from his pocket? But there are rules and procedures that have to be followed," the judge said.
"I'm bound by the law. Even if I want to pay you I can't. Legally I can't," he said adding that at the most he can recommend the same to the Delhi High Court.
The CBI sought time from the court to consider the demand and the matter was posted for July 12 for recording of Mathew's statement.

Posting the matter for July 12, the court said "It is expected that prosecution will be able to iron out all the issues related to reimbursement with the help of senior officials of the CBI"
The court also expressed displeasure on the manner in which Mathews had refused to depose after which the scribe tendered "unconditional apology" for the same.
"To say point blank that I will not depose is not the way. You could have done it in a better way. I don't say you are unjustified. It is justified but I am bound (by law)," the judge said.
"You hold the key to the prosecutions case. The fate of this case depends upon you and if you say I will not depose it will be over. Do you want it to happen?," he asked.
"I am sorry for this. Unconditional apologies," Mathew said in response adding that "I have met senior officers of the CBI, ministry and legal luminaries also. They say the special CBI court has the power".
The court said Mathews could bring to the court's notice any such provision of law, if it exists.
Recently on April 28, eleven years after he was caught in a sting operation, former BJP President Bangaru Laxman was awarded four years rigorous imprisonment for taking Rs one lakh as bribe in a fictitious defence deal case.
Jaya Jaitly, is also facing trial in a case relating to the sting.


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