New Delhi, May 1 - Former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly, facing trial for allegedly taking Rs two lakh as bribe in December 2000 to recommend a fictitious defence deal to the Defence ministry, was today allowed by a Delhi court to visit Singapore for a week.
Special CBI Judge Kanwaljeet Arora allowed Jaitly's plea to visit abroad from May 30 to June 8 to attend a panel debate on "Smith Women Leading Change: Asia 2012" on furnishing a surety bond of Rs three lakh in form of a fixed deposit receipts of a bank.
While allowing her plea, the court asked her not to extend her stay in Singapore.
"Balancing the twin interest of justice to be done at the earliest on one hand and right to carry on her avocation and to facilitate her to participate in the discussion on the other hand, the present application filed by accused Jaya Jaitly is allowed," the court said.
Jaitly along with her erstwhile party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and retired Major General S P Murgai is facing trial for allegedly conspiring with each other for "accepting bribe" for obtaining supply order of defence equipment in favour of a private firm.
She had sought permission for release of her passport and to attend panel discussion on "Smith Women Leading Change: Asia 2012", to be held from May 30 to June 8 in Singapore.
Jaitly's counsel Vipin Tyagi submitted she is a social activist and had been granted such permissions earlier also and never misused the relief.
The lawyer further said during the period, Jaitly will be represented by a counsel and will not seek any adjournment on account of her unavailability.
The CBI, however, opposed Jaitly's plea saying she may flee, if permitted to travel abroad, and the proceedings of the case would be hampered.
The court also asked Jaitly to furnish her itinerary along with the address where she would be staying in Singapore.
The court asked Jaitly to appear before it within 48 hours after returning to India and deposit her passport to it.
"I have perused the record which reveals that accused was, in fact, granted such permission on earlier occasions also and had not misused the same," said the judge, who is currently recording the statements of prosecution witnesses in the case.
The case against Jaitly, Pacherwal and Murgai was lodged on the basis of a sting 'Operation Westend' conducted by newsportal tehelka.com in 2000, purportedly exposing alleged corruption in defence deals.
George Fernandes, who was founder of Samata Party, was the defence minister during the NDA rule when the sting was carried out.
The court had framed charges against the trio for offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with taking bribe to influence a public servant.
It had said the accused, along with one Surender Kumar Surekha who has turned approver, hatched conspiracy to accept 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 had 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. PTI