The Hyderabad High Court on Saturday dismissed the exemption petition filed by Puneet Dalmia of Dalmia Cements from his personal appearance before the special CBI Court in the Illegal assets case of YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Puneet Dalmia is the third accused in the illegal assets case being heard by the special CBI Court.
The court observed that the accused in the case are causing hurdles to stall the case from proceeding. “The petitioner, Puneet Dalmia, and the other accused of one reason or other are causing hurdles to the court from proceeding further. If the delay is on the part of the Court, there is some justification to lament the court for non-disposal of the case. But, when the delay is attributable to the petitioner/accused in all the cases, the petitioner by taking advantage of such delay cannot claim exemption of his appearance who involved in serious and grave financial fraud which dent the financial health of the entire country,” observed Justice M Satyanarayana Murthy while dismissing the petition by Puneet’s lawyers.
The petition filed by Puneet Dalmia sought a direction from the Hyderabad High Court to the special CBI court to not insist on his presence at each date of hearing of the illegal assets case of Jagan.
Puneet's lawyers argued that his presence before the lower court would not serve any purpose as several petitions were already pending for adjudication before the court. His lawyers insisted that attending court for every hearing was causing inconvenience and affecting his business activities, reported The New Indian Express.
The special public prosecutor for CBI in response to the petition pointed out that the appearance of Puneet cannot be dispensed keeping in view of an earlier order passed by the High Court with respect to the main accused Jagan.
Puneet stands accused of bribing Jagan and his father, the then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, to the tune of Rs 139 crore for transferring mining licences and setting up a cement factory in Andhra Pradesh.
While reading out his decision to not exempt Puneet from appearing before the court, Justice Murthy said that the allegations against the petitioner were serious in nature. However, the judge granted liberty to the petitioner to file a petition under Section 317 of CrPC before the lower court if the accused was unable to appear before the Court for every hearing.