Cash-for-judge scam accused out on bail

October 14th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 14 (IANS) Former law officer Sanjeev Bansal, one of the main accused in the cash-for-judge scam that rocked the city in August, is now out on bail, despite pleas against his release by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).A bench of a special CBI court headed by Jagdeep Jain Monday evening granted bail to Bansal, former additional advocate general of Haryana, in the bribery scandal involving Punjab and Haryana High Court judges.

Bansal, who allegedly sent Rs.1.5 million in cash to a judge’s residence, was behind bars for 55 days.

The defence counsel argued that since the CBI has recovered all necessary evidence and material pertaining to the case, there was no point in keeping the accused in jail.

CBI counsel B.P. Singh argued against his release and said: “We are at a very crucial stage of investigation. The accused are very influential people and they can even tamper with the available documents and proof, if released from jail.”

Two other accused, Bansal’s assistant Parkash Ram and property dealer Rajiv Gupta, were also granted bail. Bansal and Gupta furnished bail bonds of Rs.200,000, while Parkash furnished a bail bond of Rs.25,000.

Two more accused, Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh and property dealer Nirmal Singh, are still in prison. Ravinder’s lawyer moved his bail application Monday and is slated for hearing Oct 18.

The high court was rocked by the bribery scam after a packet containing Rs.1.5 million in cash was delivered Aug 13 at the Sector 11 residence of newly appointed high court judge Nirmaljit Kaur. She complained to the police and a case was registered.

The police registered the case against the accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act Aug 16. Bansal surrendered at the police station Aug 20 while Ravinder surrendered in the court Sep 19.

Bansal later told the police that the money was meant for another high court judge, Nirmal Yadav. He claimed that another packet containing Rs 1.5 million was separately delivered to Yadav at her Sector 24 official residence.

He claimed that the money was delivered to the judges on the instructions of Ravinder Singh. However, Singh has denied that the money was his.

The CBI has already questioned both the judges. Yadav has been on leave since Aug 22 after her name figured in the scam and in a related matter of buying land in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.

Yadav has denied her involvement in the scam, claiming it was a conspiracy against her.

The Supreme court has also set up a three-member committee comprising Allahabad High Court Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice M.B. Lokur of the Delhi High Court to inquire into the latest corruption scandal that has shaken the judiciary.

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