Tehelka sting case: Witness refuses to testify

May 15, 2012, 01:03 IST | IANS

A journalist, who took part in a sting operation conducted by Tehelka to expose wrongdoings in arms deal, Monday refused to testify as a witness in a court here against two former officials of the defence ministry facing trial for graft.

Journalist Mathew Samuel said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not reimbursed his travel and other allowances. He added that he would not depose in the case if he was not paid Rs.10,000 per day.

Samuel, a resident of Goa, conducted the sting for the web portal on former Bharatiya Janata Party president Bangaru Laxman and Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitley and other government officials to expose corruption in defence deals.

He told CBI Special Judge Manoj Jain that the probe agency had called him to Delhi for 25 days in the case against Laxman and others, and promised that it would pay his air fare.

"They have not paid even the Rs.200 daily expenses," Mathew said.

The judge said: "After all, why should anyone pay from his pocket? But there are rules and procedures that have to be followed."

The judge said that even he wanted to financially help Samuel but he could not do so as he was bound by the legal process.

The CBI sought time from the court to consider Mathew's plea.

The court would July 12 take up the case for recording Samuel's statement.

Samuel holds the key to the prosecution's case against Hem Chand Pant and Narender Singh, former civilian officers in the defence ministry.

He appeared before the court Monday after a bailable warrant was issued against him.

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