At least two more judges were present at the residence of a lady judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court when Rs 15 lakh in cash was delivered there last year, an inquiry committee set up by the Chief Justice of India has admitted.
The confidential report of the three-judge in-house committee, accessed by HT, confirms the allegation that a sitting Supreme Court judge and a high court judge were present when the cash was delivered at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. The committee, which submitted its report to Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan last month, has not inquired about the role of these two judges.
Referring to the presence of the judges at Kaur’s residence, the report said: “There was a great deal of publicity... about an allegation that perhaps one or two judges were present at the residence of Kaur... Even if they were, the incident has no bearing on the case. No evidence has been brought on record in this regard.”
The special public prosecutor in the case has questioned the committee’s findings and said he was “deeply disappoint-ed” by its failure to address grave issues in the scam. “The committee’s decision to sidestep some very important iss-ues raised by me before it, on behalf of the Bar Association, throws a big question mark over its commitment to the cause of truth,” said Anupam Gupta, who had appeared before the judges committee.
“Records of phone calls bet-ween the son of the Supreme Court judge and the accused (former Haryana Advocate General Sanjiv Bansal), and between the high court judge and the accused after the scam came to light raised serious questions and required a probe,” Gupta said.
The committee prepared the 100-page report after it examined 19 people. It has absolved Justice Kaur of any wrongdoing. “Her conduct during the entire incident — handing over the clerk who brought the money to the police — clearly disproves the probability that the money was meant for her,” the report said.
It also did not find any direct evidence against Justice Nirmal Yadav, who faces allegations of being the actual beneficiary of the money that reached Kaur. Yadav has been asked to explain her conduct, since the committee did not find her behaviour “above board on the basis of probability as she didn’t keep the aloofness required from a judge”.