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Punjab HC secret report exposes judicial corruption

punjab Updated: Nov 09, 2013 11:41 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times
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Bringing the judgment-for-favour fact on record, a secret inquiry by the Punjab and Haryana high court has found that former CBI special judge Hemant Gopal acquitted a man for extraneous consideration.

After the investigation suggested he was guilty of grave misconduct and impropriety, the court suspended him as additional district and sessions judge of Faridkot, which was his last post. The secret report (HT has a copy) circulated to full court says that the judge was in touch with middleman Sushil Singla, who after accepting bribe from accused, visited the judge's house at Patiala, where he was then in the CBI special court.

"All these facts and circumstances point to the involvement of Hemant Gopal and prove that he passed judgment of acquittal in favour of Parminder Singh for extraneous consideration," says the report, adding: "Sushil Singla (the middleman) entered the CBI judge's house with a bag containing the money but came out without it, which shows it was handed over to Hemant Gopal."

High court registrar (vigilance) Arun Kumar Tyagi conducted this inquiry on the complaint of former legislator Mangat Rai Bansal, who submitted video evidence in the high court. The video suggests that the middleman had demanded Rs 40 lakh each from Bansal and two other accused but instead of paying bribe, Bansal chose to film the deal and expose the judge as "corrupt".

The inquiry based on five points found judge Hemant Gopal guilty of involvement in this bribery scandal. Based on the call details of Singla and the judge, the high court inquiry team concluded that the judge was in constant touch with the middleman all through the deal.

Summary of inquiry

A man named Shekher Kumar introduced Sushil Singla (law officer known to judge Hemant Gopal) to former legislator Mangat Rai Bansal, whose house Singla visited on various days, including April 17 and 18 April, when money was handed over

On April 17, Mangat Rai Bansal, Kulwant Rai and Parminder Singh handed over Rs 40 lakh to Sushil Singla at Bansal house as bribe for Hemant Gopal to acquit the three of paddy embezzlement

Bansal filmed the deal on a hidden video camera

On April 18, Singla visited the house of judge Hemant Gopal by taxi arranged by Bansal and handed over the money to the judge

Singla demanded another Rs 80 lakh, and Bansal and Kulwant Rai refused to pay, while Parminder Singh agreed to pay Rs 40 lakh

On April 19, Singla refunded Rs 10 lakh to Kulwant Rai and Rs 15 lakh to Manoj Bala, wife of Bansal; and as a result of this deal, while Parminder Singh was acquitted, Bansal and Kulwant Rai were convicted.