‘Flight theory’ overcrowding jails, says Rohatgi

New Delhi, Sep 21 : Former Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi on Saturday said the “flight risk” theory of the prosecution was becoming a reason for the overcrowding of jails.

“The jails are overcrowded because of this approach of agencies, declaring everyone a flight risk,” Rohatgi told Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar during arguments on the bail application of Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar.

Rohatgi, representing Shivakumar, said the prosecution repeated the ‘flight risk’ argument in every other case. “In INX media, they said Chidambaram is a flight risk. If they say a person, like Chidambaram, a lawyer and politician for over 40 years, is a flight risk then, every other person is a flight risk,” he submitted.

The submission came after the agency claimed Shivakumar was an influential and powerful person and might hamper the investigation.

“The argument given for the grant of bail is he has deep roots. But I would say the case has much more deep-rooted conspiracy. It’s a serious economic offence. It’s a threat to the national economy. It may imbalance the national economy and is a threat to national security,” Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natraj representing the ED said.

Pressing for grant of bail, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said, “there are only figures thrown in ex-parte applications and nothing else. Each day my friend comes to argue, the amount increases by Rs 100 crore. 18 days in incarceration, 4 days in interrogation. 9 hours daily. 198 hours, including the hospital time.”

Singhvi said, “How is it possible that you have only charged IT Act against me, which is not even a scheduled offence, and I am not prima facie entitled to bail? This is not a case of conviction.” “What more ‘fire’ test should the accused undergo?” Singhvi said.

Natraj, Amit Mahajan, Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana and Naveen Kumar Matta represented the ED, while senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dayan Krishnan and former ASG Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Shivakumar.

After arguments, the court reserved the order for September 25.

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