Punjab judge got Rs 15 lakh: Governor | india | Hindustan Times
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Punjab judge got Rs 15 lakh: Governor

india Updated: Jan 17, 2010 01:13 IST
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Two weeks after the ‘cash-at-judge’s door’ scandal rocked the Punjab and Haryana High Court in mid-2008, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd) had concluded that Justice Nirmal Yadav, sitting High Court judge, had been paid Rs 15 lakh, records at Raj Bhawan reveal.

Gen Rodrigues drew this inference from the Interim Investigation Reports of the Chandigarh Police as well as “inputs from other sources” and had brought the same to the notice of the then Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur of Punjab and Haryana High Court, according to confidential official documents procured by Hindustan Times under the Right to Information Act.

On August 26, 2008 – the day the Governor wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the case – he shot off a letter (No. PS-Gov-08/399) to Justice Thakur, informing him on “certain conclusions that can be arrived at, from the investigation conducted so far”.

The communication, inter-alia, says: “Justice Nirmal Yadav has allegedly been paid Rs 15.00 lakhs. The motive has to be established.”

“There have been some inputs, from sources other than the police, which involve members of the judiciary. I feel they can be easily verified to maintain the highest standards of integrity in the judiciary” says the letter.

The ‘cash-at-judge’s door’ scandal had broken out on August 13, when it was reported to the Chandigarh Police that a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh had been handed over to Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, a judge at Punjab and Haryana High Court, by Prakash Ram, an assistant munshi with Sanjiv Bansal, former additional advocate general of Haryana. The Chandigarh Police registered an FIR (no. 250 dated August 18) under the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120-B of IPC at Sector 11 Police station.

Between August 18 and August 25, the Punjab Governor, who is also Union Territory Administrator, sent three status reports of police investigations headed by an IG-rank officer to the Chief Justice of the High Court.

On his part, Justice Thakur, in a two-page communique ( D.O. letter 23/Spl/CJS, dated August 25, 2008) to Raj Bhawan, made a strong case for transferring the investigation to the CBI. “There is an urgent need for a credible investigation into all the aspects relating to the episode. That apart, the sensitivities involved and the position which some of those likely to be affected by the investigation are holding in our system, would, in my opinion, justify handing over of further investigation” he said.

The very next day, Gen Rodrigues wrote to the CBI director asking the premier investigating agency to take up the investigation of the case immediately. In his communication to the Director, CBI, Governor said: “Due to the ramifications and sensitivities involved, this case can be best investigated now by the CBI. I feel that case has very wide ramifications and involves very highly placed individuals, but we have enough inputs to indicate it will be possible to expeditiously unravel the case.”

Eight months later, the CBI corroborated and confirmed Gen Rodgrigues’ conclusion that Justice Nirmal Yadav had received Rs 15 lakh in return for having “favorably decided” a legal case of Bansal at the high court.Two weeks after the ‘cash-at-judge’s door’ scandal rocked the Punjab and Haryana High Court in mid-2008, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd) had concluded that Justice Nirmal Yadav, sitting High Court judge, had been paid Rs 15 lakh, records at Raj Bhawan reveal.

Gen Rodrigues drew this inference from the Interim Investigation Reports of the Chandigarh Police as well as “inputs from other sources” and had brought the same to the notice of the then Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur of Punjab and Haryana High Court, according to confidential official documents procured by Hindustan Times under the Right to Information Act.

On August 26, 2008 – the day the Governor wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the case – he shot off a letter (No. PS-Gov-08/399) to Justice Thakur, informing him on “certain conclusions that can be arrived at, from the investigation conducted so far”.

The communication, inter-alia, says: “Justice Nirmal Yadav has allegedly been paid Rs 15.00 lakhs. The motive has to be established.”

“There have been some inputs, from sources other than the police, which involve members of the judiciary. I feel they can be easily verified to maintain the highest standards of integrity in the judiciary” says the letter.

The ‘cash-at-judge’s door’ scandal had broken out on August 13, when it was reported to the Chandigarh Police that a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh had been handed over to Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, a judge at Punjab and Haryana High Court, by Prakash Ram, an assistant munshi with Sanjiv Bansal, former additional advocate general of Haryana. The Chandigarh Police registered an FIR (no. 250 dated August 18) under the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120-B of IPC at Sector 11 Police station.

Between August 18 and August 25, the Punjab Governor, who is also Union Territory Administrator, sent three status reports of police investigations headed by an IG-rank officer to the Chief Justice of the High Court.

On his part, Justice Thakur, in a two-page communique ( D.O. letter 23/Spl/CJS, dated August 25, 2008) to Raj Bhawan, made a strong case for transferring the investigation to the CBI. “There is an urgent need for a credible investigation into all the aspects relating to the episode. That apart, the sensitivities involved and the position which some of those likely to be affected by the investigation are holding in our system, would, in my opinion, justify handing over of further investigation” he said.

The very next day, Gen Rodrigues wrote to the CBI director asking the premier investigating agency to take up the investigation of the case immediately. In his communication to the Director, CBI, Governor said: “Due to the ramifications and sensitivities involved, this case can be best investigated now by the CBI. I feel that case has very wide ramifications and involves very highly placed individuals, but we have enough inputs to indicate it will be possible to expeditiously unravel the case.”

Eight months later, the CBI corroborated and confirmed Gen Rodgrigues’ conclusion that Justice Nirmal Yadav had received Rs 15 lakh in return for having “favorably decided” a legal case of Bansal at the high court.