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Probe panel favouring Dinakaran?

The probe panel investigating allegations of corruption and land grabbing against the controversial Sikkim High Court Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, is not willing to chargesheet the controversial judge.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2010 23:25 IST
Nagendar Sharma

The probe panel investigating allegations of corruption and land grabbing against the controversial Sikkim High Court Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, is not willing to chargesheet the controversial judge.

Seven months after it was set-up by Rajya Sabha chairman, Hamid Ansari, following an impeachment notice served against him by 75 opposition MPs, the panel wants these MPs to provide evidence against Justice Dinakaran before proceeding further in the matter, HT has learnt.

The panel comprising Supreme Court judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and veteran lawyer P.P. Rao, has conveyed its view in a letter to Ansari, a highly placed source said.

The panel has asked the MPs to provide among other things, details and evidence of how they “evaluated the value of land”, alleged to be in the possession of Justice Dinakaran.

Ansari is understood to have sought legal opinion from the law ministry on whether it is permissible to ask MPs to provide evidence before a chargesheet is served to a judge against whom impeachment proceedings have been initiated.

The latest development raises fresh questions on the probe panel’s functioning. Lawyers and accountability activists have been demanding that the panel be reconstituted.

Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability, which had for the first time brought allegations against Justice Dinakaran in public domain last year, has asked Rajya Sabha chairman to form the probe panel again.

“We have so far not received any response to our letter to Rajya Sabha chairman, in which we had objected to the names selected to be in the panel to probe charges against Justice Dinakaran,” said R. Vaigai, senior lawyer and the Forum’s convenor.

“Two of the members in the panel — Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and P.P Rao, are persons who know Justice Dinakaran quite well and therefore may not be fit to judge his conduct,” the Forum wrote to Ansari.

Citing his past association, the lawyers forum pointed out that “of all the Judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Sirpurkar would have the most association with Justice Dinakaran.”

On Rao, the Forum said: “The senior lawyer had been consulted by Justice Dinakaran in December 2009 in the context of the allegations faced by him and when news of impeachment proceedings appeared in the media.”