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Jurists go after Sabharwal

A group of jurists and intellectuals files a complaint with the CBI and the Central Vigilance commission seeking registration of an FIR against former Chief Justice of India, reports Nagendar Sharma.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2007 02:25 IST
Nagendar Sharma

A group of jurists and intellectuals has filed a complaint with the CBI and the Central Vigilance commission seeking registration of an FIR against former Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal on charges of corruption.

The group, known as the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Judicial Reforms (CJAR), has demanded that the FIR be lodged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Among the 18 patrons of the group are former Supreme Court judges, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and Justice P.B. Sawant.

The move comes a day after MPs from various political parties had demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption against Justice Sabharwal.

Earlier, five former Chief Justices had asked their controversial colleague to volunteer for an inquiry.

The CJAR’s complaint said: “Acts by Justice Sabharwal in dealing with the Delhi sealing case and passing orders for sealing commercial establishments at a time when his sons, staying with him, were getting business partnerships with shopping mall developers, who stood to gain from sealing, amount to offences....”

Justice Sabharwal had denied the allegations of corruption and misconduct in clarifications in an English daily on September 2. He was not available for comments on Wednesday, though.

The complaint alleged that he had “obtained gratification from a builder in the form of a share subscription worth Rs 1.5 crore in his sons’ company and construction of an IT Park for the same company of his sons by the builder”.

The CJAR also submitted official documents to the CBI which purportedly show that the companies run by Justice Sabharwal’s sons benefited from out-of-turn allotment of institutional and industrial plots in Noida in 2004-06 at rates far below the market price.

“Documents show the previous Uttar Pradesh government showed unjustified haste in the allotment of plots to Justice Sabharwal’s

sons. Pawan Impex Limited, one of the companies, was invited to discuss the location of a 12,000-square-metre institutional plot within four days of the application being deposited,” the complaint signed by Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of the committee, said.

The group has charged the judge’s family with possession of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

“The purchase of property by the two sons of Justice Sabharwal for an official consideration of Rs 15.43 crore indicates possession of assets much more than their known sources (of income). The income according to the tax returns of the sons is not adequate to fund the purchase of this property,” it said.