The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court clears Rao US trip

New Delhi, Aug. 18: P.V. Narasimha Rao is all set to fly to the US on Wednesday for a medical check-up following a go-ahead signal after the former Prime Minister completed formalities laid down by a city court where he is facing trial in the Lakhubhai Pathak case.

The Congress leader, controversial godman Chandraswami and his aide K.. Agarwal alias Mamaji are accused of cheating London-based pickle tycoon late Lakhubhai Pathak of $100,000 in 1986. Rao, the CBI alleged, took the bribe on the promise of getting Pathak a paper pulp-supply contract in India.

Rao furnished a personal bond of Rs 50,000 before special judge Dinesh Dayal, who is holding court at Vigyan Bhavan. The former Prime Minister, who was present in court to furnish the bond, was accompanied by his lawyer and personal staff.

Dayal had on August 14 agreed to allow Rao to visit Houston from August 20 to October 9 for a heart check-up, as the CBI was not averse to his visit.

CBI counsel K.. Sharma, who was present in court, did not raise any objection when Rao’s lawyers moved an application seeking the court’s permission for the foreign trip.

However, the judge imposed some conditions, including the furnishing of a surety and a personal bond of Rs 50,000. The surety was furnished that day.

On September 19, the ministry of external affairs will apprise the court of preparations it has made, with the help of the National Informatics Centre, to examine by video conferencing California assembly Speaker Marvin M. Dymally, a defence witness.

Dymally claims to have been present when Rao, Chandraswami and Agarwal met in a New York hotel and has agreed to testify in court the conversations between the three. The court said a date for Dymally’s examination would be finalised by October 19.

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