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Where is Justice Karnan? Police clueless about HC judge due to retire on June 12

The Supreme Court ordered the arrest Justice Karnan after his embarrassing spat with senior judges of the apex court in the course of which he even ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of India.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2017 07:23 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee
Tanmay Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Justice Karnan,CS Karnan,Contempt of court
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Justice CS Karnan.(PTI File Photo)

Five days to retire, there's no trace of the elusiveJustice Karnan.

Where is Justice CS Karnan? Nearly a month after the country’s top court ordered his arrest, the police are clueless about the whereabouts of the Kolkata high court judge believed to be hiding in Chennai since going on the run.

If the police find him within the next five days, it will be the first instance of a serving judge of the higher judiciary being arrested.

Justice Karnan, who has alleged that he is being targeted because he is a Dalit, retires on June 12.

Incidentally, the judge once againfailed to get relief from the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The top court refused to hear his plea seeking a stay on its May 9order awarding him a six-monthjail term.

The top court’s order to arrest Justice Karnan came after his embarrassing spat with senior judges of the Supreme Court in thecourse of which he even ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of India. While issuing the arrest warrant against him, the Supreme Court also ordered the media to refrain from reporting Justice Karnan’s statements.

The police have been looking for him eversince the SC order.AKolkata Police team reached Chennai on May 10to arrest the judge.They did not find him that day. They haven’t so far — not in Chennai or in Andhra Pradesh -- chasing leads that have turned out to be false.

At least two police teams comprising senior officers of West Bengal Police and headed by DGP (Home Guards) Raj Kanojia are engaged in the hunt for the judgewho hails from a village in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.

"We went to Karnatham (Karnan’s village). We also kept a watch on a temple he has set up in the village. But nobody could provide us with any substantial lead,” an exasperated Kanojia told HT.

The futile search has triggered speculation that the judge could be hiding in Nepal or that he managed to put the police off his trail by sending his cell phone with a decoy to Chennai.

A senior IPS officer tracking the case from Kolkata said, “Justice Karnan has switched off his phones and is not using the two SIM cards he had.” On why the trail had gone cold, the officer said, “The lack of knowledge of Tamil and the local topography have hindered the search and forced the Bengal police to rely on theirTamil Nadu counterparts.”

Meanwhile, some members of the legal fraternity said the police would ramp up their efforts in tracking down the judgeafter June 12, when hewill cease to have judicial powers following retirement.

First Published: Jun 08, 2017 07:06 IST