Sitting judge of the Rajasthan high court justice Nirmaljit Kaur will be examined as a prosecution witness in the infamous judge bribery case, in which retired high court judge Nirmal Yadav is the principal accused.
Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s name was cited on Monday by CBI special prosecutor Anupam Gupta, during the resumed hearing of the ongoing trial, saying that she was a very important witness and he would like to examine her on the next date of hearing, which is February 29.
On Monday, Nirmal Yadav’s counsel senior advocate S K Garg Narwana said justice Nirmaljit Kaur need not be called to Chandigarh for her evidence and that she could be examined in Rajasthan itself through a commission. Gupta, however, strongly insisted on the judge being examined in court in Chandigarh. He said he would “feel legally and ethically compromised” if any witness were to not to be examined in court.
Accepting the CBI’s plea, special judge Shashibala Chauhan fixed February 29 for justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s examination in court. However, the court will decide whether justice Kaur is to be called through summons or a letter of request.
Earlier, three prosecution witnesses turned hostile in the court on Monday. The witnesses who turned hostile include RK Sharma, managing director of Ishaan textiles and his two employees Ravinder Singh and Pradeep Kumar. They retracted from their statements which they had given to the CBI in the case.
In their statement to the CBI during investigation, Sharma had said that hotelier Ravinder Singh was close to him and Singh had told him to deliver `2.5 lakh to justice Nirmal Yadav, following which he delivered the cash to the judge in mid -April 2008 through his employee Ravinder, who, too, corroborated Sharma’s version. Ravinder had further handed over to the CBI a diary maintained by him wherein he had made an entry regarding the said delivery.
However, both Sharma and Ravinder on Monday retracted from the statements. Sharma denied that he knew hotelier Ravinder Singh and ever asked his him to deliver money to justice Yadav.
Ravinder admitted that the signatures in the diary and on the seizure memo were his, but denied having delivered any money.
Similarly another employee of Sharma also resiled from the statement to the CBI.
Retired high court judge Nirmal Yadav is facing trial for receiving `15 lakh from a Delhi businessman, Ravinder Singh, in 2008. This money was first mistakenly delivered at the Chandigarh residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur (then a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court) on August 13, 2008. The money was alleged to have been delivered to Nirmal Yadav at her official residence the next morning.
The money was taken to Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s residence by Parkash Ram, a clerk of advocate Sanjiv Bansal, then additional advocate general Haryana on the asking of Ravinder Singh. When the amount reached Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s house, she called the Chandigarh police which seized the amount and took Parkash Ram to the police station for questioning.
After preliminary inquiry, the Chandigarh police registered an FIR on August 16, 2008, following the complaint of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s peon Amrik Singh. The case was later transferred to the CBI.