Justice Amar Nath Jindal (retd), who will probe the multi-crore scam of the Punjab education department, was himself engulfed in a major controversy in September 2008 when the cash-at-judge's-door scam revolving around justice Nirmal Yadav (retd) had rocked the judiciary.
Justice Jindal, who retired from the Punjab and Haryana high court on May 25, 2013, had given ex parte protection to the kingpin of the 2008 scam, businessman Ravinder Singh Bhasin, who was on the run and had moved pre-arrest bail plea in the high court.
On September 5, 2008, justice Jindal had passed an interim order giving some protection to the prime accused in the event of his surrender. He had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to use third-degree methods if Bhasin surrendered, besides directing the CBI to ensure presence of the defence counsel during Bhasin's interrogation.
The judge had also directed that the petitioner, in case of surrender, be medically examined before and after the interrogation.
This interim order had evoked a storm of protest from the high court bar association. The bar, in a jam-packed general house meeting on September 11, had unanimously resolved to intervene and oppose the interim order through senior advocate Anupam Gupta. The high court bar had described justice Jindal's order as deliberate and wilful abuse of power.
Later, in a detailed order of September 18, justice Jindal had vacated the interim order and dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Bhasin, saying, "Therefore, in order to save the prestige of both systems and prevent them from corrupting and also to prevent any subversion or suppression of the truth or any miscarriage of justice in the investigation, the custodial interrogation has become essential."
Justice Jindal hails from Sangrur district. He was selected as additional district and sessions judge in 1995 and was elevated as judge of the high court on April 1, 2006.