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Cash ’n’ Curry?
CJI sets up three-judge panel; suggests probe by CBI
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, has set up a committee of three judges to look into the probable involvement of a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Rs 15-lakh scam that have jolted the Bar and the Bench.

The committee consists of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice K.S Radhakrishnan and Justice Madan B. Lokur of the Delhi High Court. It is believed that Justice Gokhale will head the committee.

The panel has been thought of by the CJI as an internal mechanism to inquire into the serious charges of corruption that have come to the surface involving a judge of the high court. As of now, the terms of reference of the committee are not known, but it is apparent that the members have been asked to submit their report to the CJI at the earliest possible.

The CJI, according to sources, has asked the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, to also ask for a CBI investigation into the scam in which Additional Advocate-General of Haryana Sanjeev Bansal and three others have been arrested. Both the inquiries will proceed simultaneously and independently.

Already a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Ms Nirmal Yadav, has gone on leave after Chief Justice Thakur took serious note of the scam. Justice Yadav is unlikely to have gone on leave voluntarily, whatever her claims. As of now, the Chandigarh Police is looking into the alleged nexus between the “judiciary, the court staff, the lawyers and the middlemen”.

Justice Yadav, who proceeded on leave after her name surfaced in the investigations, is said to have purchased property jointly with her relatives near Solan in Himachal Pradesh. A Chandigarh Police team has reportedly reached Solan in this connection for investigation.

This is, perhaps, the first time that CJI has set up a committee to probe the role of a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge in a corruption case. Handling the situation with utmost alacrity, Chief Justice Thakur had last week written to the CJI bringing to his notice the details of the case and the investigations made by the Chandigarh Police and the preliminary action he had taken. The CJI took serious note of the scandal and immediately set up the three-judge committee.

Justice Nirmal Yadav was named by Bansal in his statement to the Chandigarh Police. Bansal was taken into custody by the Chandigarh Police after Justice Nirmaljit Kaur of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had informed the police about the attempted delivery of Rs 15 lakh at her house erroneously by Bansal’s clerk Parkash Ram.



HC judge ‘identified’ for prosecution
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Sanjeev Bansal and Rajiv Gupta being taken inside the district courts to be produced before a local court in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Sanjeev Bansal and Rajiv Gupta being taken inside the district courts to be produced before a local court in Chandigarh on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh police today claimed that it had identified a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge for “prosecution” in the ‘Cash ‘n’ Curry?’ case. This fact came to light during arguments when the prosecution sought an extension of the police remand of former law officer Sanjeev Bansal and his accomplice Rajiv Gupta.

When the defence lawyer questioned as to which public servant was involved in the case, special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta said: “I am compelled to say there is a high court judge who has been identified for a clear case of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act but after seeking permission of the Chief Justice of India.”
He added that the investigating agency had been updating the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court about the progress in the case, who was simultaneous informing the Chief justice of India about the on-going investigation.

The prosecution sought extension of the police remand for Bansal from the court of the judicial magistrate first class. The court, however, sent Bansal and Gupta to a 14-day judicial custody.

Gupta argued that Bansal was not an ordinary lawyer. “Bansal was an important part of the legal system - a system that he has worked, compromised and corrupted. Bansal has the propensity to turn litigants into partners in property deals. We are up against a very powerful, intelligent and well-connected nexus,” he said.

Arguing before the court for extending the police remand of Bansal for eight days, Gupta said Bansal had made a disclosure that he had been using a mobile phone (98140 01283) before and after the delivery of Rs 15 lakh. Bansal had left the handset at a friend’s house in Delhi and the police required him to recover the instrument.

He further said another accused Rajeev Gupta had used a mobile (98152 18888), which he left in Delhi after the police registered a criminal case against him.

The investigating agency contended before the court that examination of the bank accounts belonging to Bansal indicated huge monetary transactions. The bank entries showed transaction worth crores of rupees and withdrawal of cash up to Rs 10 lakh in a single instance. The investigating agency had been probing the source of money.

The investigating agency also said it had sent four computers to a forensic lab for examination. These computers could possibly contain information about Bansal’s links with some “influential people” and were recently recovered from his residence and office.

The police continued to evade mediapersons and took the police vehicle inside the court premises. Interestingly inspecting judge Justice K.S. Garewal was also present in the district courts complex when the accused was brought here.



Ravinder continues to evade arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh police continues to draw a blank in case of Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh, who has not been arrested even after 14 days.

“Our investigations largely depend on the arrest of Ravinder as the motive in the case would be ascertained only after his arrest,” said SSP, Chandigarh police, S.S Srivastava.



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