After the Punjab and Haryana high court has changed the inquiry officer in the bribery case against suspended special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) judge Hemant Gopal, the complainant has filed a written objection with the chief justice.
Former legislator Mangat Rai Basnal, who had produced the video that led to the suspension orders against judge Gopal, has sought personal appearance before the new acting CJ to show him his evidence of how the CBI judge had acquitted others who had paid the bribe but awarded him jail because he had failed to deliver the money.
Already a discreet inquiry by high court vigilance registrar AK Tyagi has indicted additional session judge Hemant Gopal, which led the full court to suspend him and then order departmental inquiry against him that was assigned to the district and session judge at Rupnagar, where the statements of witnesses were being recorded when in early November, the inquiry was shifted to the district and session judge of Panchkula in Haryana.
Bansal isn’t amused. “When the inquiry was on at Rupnagar, the suspended judge was delaying it on one or the other pretext. Now when the inquiry has moved to Panchkula, he is in a hurry to see it concluded. “I was shocked to see a bailable warrant issued against me in the first hearing at Panchkula, while judge Gopal sat close to the new inquiry officer, as the complainant and the witnesses stood before him. Gopal, who was seeking adjournment earlier, now was rushing things,” Bansal wrote in the letter.
“The new inquiry officer is siding openly with the suspended judge and not doing his job in a fair manner, which is apparent from his conduct,” he further wrote, requesting the high court to move the case to the earlier officer at Rupnagar. The CBI judge was suspended in Septmber 2013 after the high court vigilance registrar indicted him on various charges. That inquiry had brought the judgment-for-favour fact on record, as it concluded that judge Gopal had acquitted a man “for extraneous considerations” and held him guilty of “grave misconduct and impropriety”. He was additional district and sessions judge in Faridkot when suspended.
High court vigilance registrar Tyagi had conducted the inquiry on the complaint of former legislator Bansal, based on a video suggesting a tout had demanded `40 lakh each from Bansal and two other accused on behalf of the judge. The inquiry found judge guilty on five counts. Based on the call details, a high court inquiry team had concluded that judge Gopal had been in constant touch with touts all through the deal.