Monday, November 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Justice Venkataswami’s resignation accepted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The Centre today accepted the resignation of Justice K. Venkataswami from the Tehelka inquiry panel and decided to approach the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to suggest another name to head the probe panel.

Talking to mediapersons after a high-level meeting at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said that the resignation of Justice Venkataswami had been accepted.

“The moment the government receives a name from the Chief Justice, he will be appointed to head the inquiry into the Tehelka expose,” Mr Mahajan said.

Earlier, in the day, Justice Venkataswami denied that he had had second thoughts over his decision to resign as the head of the commission probing the defence expose by Tehelka.

Admitting that Attorney-General Soli Sorabji had met him, the former Supreme Court judge said there had been no attempt by the government to put pressure on him. He had yesterday resigned as head of the Tehelka inquiry commission and Chairman of the Authority on Advance Ruling on Customs and Excise.

The resignation followed the attack by Opposition parties in Parliament over the offer of chairmanship of the authority to the former judge probing the Tehelka expose. The Opposition had also demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the issue. Upset by the Opposition attack, the judge resigned from both posts. Mr Sorabjee, who met Justice Venkataswami this morning, said the meeting was a courtesy call and he had not gone to pursuade the judge to reconsider his decision.

“He gave no impression that he was in any mood to continue in office. He is a very sensitive judge and has been very hurt by the wild and baseless allegations,” Mr Sorabji said.

Justice Venkataswami was appointed to head the commission to go into the expose of charges of corruption in defence deals by the Tehelka news portal early last year. 

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