Former HC judge Quddusi gets bail in cash-for-judicial relief case despite CBI objection
The investigative agency claimed that as it is yet to record the statements of many witnesses in the case, releasing Quddusi on bail could hamper its probe.india Updated: Sep 27, 2017 21:47 IST
A CBI court on Wednesday granted bail to former Odisha high court judge IM Quddusi, who was arrested earlier this month in connection with an alleged “cash-for-judicial relief scam” involving a Lucknow-based medical institute.
The CBI had opposed Quddusi’s request, claiming that providing him with bail could hamper the investigation because it is yet to record the statements of many witnesses in the case. The court, however, let the former judge out on a personal surety of Rs 1 lakh.
This was second time the court rejected a CBI request in the case. On Monday, the court declined to extend Quddusi’s remand for further custodial interrogation, and remanded him in judicial custody instead. Special judge Manoj Jain noted that while the CBI accused Quddusi of not cooperating with it during his time spent in police custody, it had – on the other hand – accepted that he provided his voice samples voluntarily.
Defence counsel Vijay Aggarwal told the judge that Quddusi had been a high court judge for 17 years, and possesses an unblemished record. “He has deep roots in the society, and there was no question of him refusing to cooperate with the agency or fleeing from justice,” he added.
The CBI, however, dubbed the matter as a “big scam” and accused Quddusi of trying to influence a public servant who is yet to be identified. It had recorded as many as 80 conversations between all the accused in the case during the course of the investigation.
The CBI FIR states that Quddusi and his alleged associate, Bhawana Pandey, assured representatives of the Prasad Education Trust (which runs the Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences) that they would get their problem settled through connections in the Supreme Court. The Lucknow-based medical institute is among 46 colleges barred by the government from admitting students for the next few years owing to “sub-standard facilities and non-fulfilment of various criteria”.
The duo then allegedly got in touch with one Biswanath Agrawala from Bhubaneswar, who claimed to be in close contact with senior public functionaries. Besides Quddusi, Pandey and Agrawala, three other accused – trust representatives BP Yadav and Palash Yadav and alleged hawala dealer Ramdev Saraswat – were arrested by the CBI.
The investigative agency also recovered Rs 1 crore from Agrawala’s possession soon after he allegedly received it from Saraswat in the city’s Chandni Chowk area. The alleged hawala dealer had earlier paid him around Rs 50-70 lakh, the CBI claimed.
Pandey was also granted a week’s bail on account of her four-year-old son’s ill-health.