Somnath Bharti claims to be clean, blames court

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Somnath Bharti
New Delhi, Jan 15: In a media interview on Tuesday, New Delhi's Law Minister Somnath Bharti defended his position by saying that the court was at error to indict him for tampering evidence as a defence lawyer.

He said,"It was erroneous on the part of the judge to describe my conversation with the witness as tampering of evidence... There is nothing illegal about a defence lawyer holding a normal conversation with a prosecution witness. The transcript of the conversation will reveal that I neither influenced nor intimidated the witness."

He further justified that he wanted to bust a Rs 1,600 crore scam where the CBI was protecting top officials and pinning the blame on a desk clerk, who was his client.

In fact, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal backed Bharti saying that the audio tapes should be shown in public for them to decide. "We want the media to play the audio recording (done by Bharti) to the nation. You decide what evidence has been tampered with after watching the recording. We respect the court but would disagree with the judge calling the sting operation 'tampering' of evidence," he said.

CBI special judge Poonam A Bamba held Bharti and his client of influencing a prosecution witness (senior officials who were the real culprits, as per Bharti) by discussing the case over phone.

Bharti said that the court did not accept the recorded conversation as evidence.

Bharti clarified how in three separate cases of omission and commission, the State Bank of Mysore held his client as the accused, while the senior officers were made prosecution witness. He also expressed displeasure at the fact that the court did not accept the recorded conversation as evidence.

"They would openly talk in the bank about how they managed to walk free while Kumar was arrested and sent behind bars by the investigating agency. Our recorded conversation with one of Kumar's seniors aimed to unearth the truth as he accepted the same over phone," said Bharti. He further added,"the court sent Kumar (who was then out on bail) back to jail, accusing him and me of influencing a witness and trying to tamper with evidence," he said.

Referring to a previous judgement on the same case, he said:

"On July 3, 2012, when CBI filed the chargesheet exempting senior bank employees and making Kumar an accused, the judge, Swarn Kanta, clearly expressed her views that the senior managers (those who were later made prosecution witnesses) should have been arrested by CBI."

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