In a fresh embarrassment to the judiciary, doubts have been raised over the alleged roles of a sitting Supreme Court judge and a high court judge in the cash-at-judge’s-door scam, in which a lady judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is already facing a probe.
Advocate Anupam Gupta, who was appointed as special public prosecutor in the case by the Chandigarh Administration, has demanded that the ambit of the probe should be expanded to inquire into the role of all the judges allegedly linked to the scam.
Gupta confirmed to HT that he had given a comprehensive presentation before the three-judge in-house committee, appointed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to probe the scam.
August 13, 2008: Justice Nirmaljit Kaur of the Punjab and Haryana High Court informed the police of delivery of Rs 15 lakh at her residence. She said the money was brought by an accomplice of Haryana’s additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal.
August 16: Police lodges FIR against five persons, including Bansal.
August 22: Police inquiry revealed cash was actually meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav, and wrongly delivered at Justice Kaur’s home.
August 23: Justice Yadav proceeds on leave after her name was linked to the scam.
August 26: Case handed over to CBI by Chandigarh administration. On the same day, the CJI formed a three-judge committee to probe the role of judges.
December 12: The committee submits its report to the CJI.
December 25: CJI K.G. Balakrishnan asks Justice Yadav to explain her
“While Justice (Nirmal) Yadav has been rightly indicted by the committee, the nexus between lawyers, judges and businessmen which this scam has brought to light, remains to be unraveled,” he demanded.
“A senior judge of the high court had attempted to influence the preliminary inquiry by the Chandigarh police, and both this judge and a Supreme Court judge were present at Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s residence on 13th August when the cash was delivered,” Gupta said.
He said this high court judge was also in continuous contact with the accused, who had sent the money, throughout the three days of preliminary inquiry by the police. “The number and duration of phone calls between them is alarming,” he said.
In her letter to the CJI, a defiant Justice Nirmal Yadav questioned the findings of the in-house committee.
“The committee records that a judge of the Supreme Court and a senior judge of the high court may have been present in the house (at the time of delivery of the cash),” Justice Yadav said in her letter demanding evidence against her.
Justice Yadav, who has been asked to explain her conduct by the CJI, said she was being made a “scapegoat” since the probe had been directed only against her. She said the committee reached a “wrong conclusion” because a judge of the apex court and a high court judge were “found to be interfering in the investigation.”