Bar Council issues show-cause notice to controversial Kerala lawyer
A group of lawyers had moved the Union law ministry last week citing serious allegations against the lawyer and later it advised the Bar council to look into these charges.
The Bar Council of Kerala on Monday issued a show-cause notice to high court lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor who has been accused of demanding huge sum of money from his clients, including some high-profile ones, claiming he could “influence judges.”
A group of lawyers had moved the Union law ministry last week citing serious allegations against the lawyer and later it advised the Bar council to look into these charges. Though charges against Kidangoor had come to the fore over two weeks back, no action was initiated against him.
Kidangoor was also the president of Kerala high court advocates association.
“If his explanation is not satisfactory, we will take strict action against him. Nobody has approached the bar council with a compliant so far,” a senior official of the Bar Council of Kerala said, on anonymity.
Meanwhile, police also sought legal advice from the advocate general whether a case can be registered against the lawyer. Kochi police commissioner K Seturaman who recorded the statements of many clients and Kidangoor, submitted a report to the state police chief Anil Kant on Saturday.
Though charges against the lawyer first surfaced late last year, it further escalated after the vigilance wing of the court earlier this month reportedly found some of the allegations to be true and sought a detailed police inquiry into the matter, senior lawyers said.
“Some of the judges of the high court have also sought a detailed probe into these charges, which, they said will affect credibility of the whole judicial system,” a senior lawyer said, requesting anonymity. The high court registrar had also collected details of cases represented by Kidangoor and submitted a list to the court and police.
Kidangoor was not available for comments. Last week, Kidangoor had repeatedly denied the allegations against him, calling them “baseless and fabricated”, while claiming he only took consultation and lawyer fees from clients.
The allegations surfaced after a film producer, an accused in an alleged sexual assault case involving another Kerala film actor, claimed in Kochi that he had to cough up huge amount of money to procure a pre-arrest bail. Kidangoor was his lawyer. There were also allegations that Kidangoor took the name of three judges of the high court, claiming he could bribe them to get “favourable” orders.
Last Friday, justice Ziyad Rahman had to withdraw his order in connection with a case registered against two people under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly assaulting a Dalit man in Pathanamthitta district in March 2022.
The accused first approached the lower court for bail, which was turned down. They then moved the high court and on April 20 last year, Justice Rahman granted pre-arrest bail to the two accused, who were represented by Kidangoor.
Later, the de facto complainant in the case moved the court citing credentials of the counsel and complained that basic procedures were not followed while granting them bail. The judge had called back his order and directed a fresh hearing in the bail plea.