Cash-for-judge scam: lawyer remanded to police custody

August 20th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Aug 20 (IANS) Former Haryana additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal was Wednesday sent to a three-day police remand by a court here following his arrest in a scandal over a man delivering Rs.1.5 million in cash to a judge’s residence.Bansal was produced in the jam-packed court of Judicial Magistrate Mahesh Kumar Wednesday evening.

“The court has awarded three-day police remand to Sanjeev Bansal so that police can interrogate him and get leads to arresting the other accused, Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh,” Anupam Gupta, standing counsel for the Chandigarh administration, told mediapersons.

Bansal has been named along with two others in the cash-for-judge scam.

The case was registered here last week after Bansal’s ‘munshi’ (assistant) Prakash delivered a packet containing Rs.1.5 million in cash at the Sector 11 residence of Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Nirmaljit Kaur Aug 13.

The judge reported the matter to the police and the court. Bansal later maintained that the money was meant for someone else.

During questioning, Bansal said the money was to be sent to Nirmal Singh, a Panchkula-based property dealer.

Nirmal Singh was also arrested Wednesday morning and has been sent to a thee-day police remand.

Investigating officers submitted a CD containing a video record of Bansal’s questioning. Police officials said it contained names of some other judges as well.

Bansal was arrested by the Chandigarh Police early Wednesday in the cash-for-judge scam that rocked the city last week.

The police said they arrested the former law officer, who is known to be well connected to politicians and judges, when he came to the Sector 11 police station here after 2 a.m. accompanied by some senior advocates.

Bansal’s supporters said he surrendered to the police.

“Sanjeev did not surrender before us. Rather he was brought to us by some advocates and arrested by us. We cannot divulge anything more as this is a very sensitive issue and requires thorough investigation,” additional superintendent of police Madhur Verma, investigating the high-profile case, told IANS.

According to the complaint, Prakash delivered the money at the residence of Nirmaljit Kaur on the night of Aug 13.

On seeing the cash in the bag, the security guard called the judge who was in the house. They stopped Prakash from leaving and called the police, said a police official.

The Chandigarh police had registered a case last week against three people, including Bansal and Prakash, following a complaint that cash had been delivered at Nirmaljit Kaur’s residence, said the official.

“We registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Bansal, his munshi Parkash and a Delhi-based hotelier, Ravinder Singh,” said Verma.

“The police arrested Prakash for further questioning Aug 16, but Bansal and Ravinder absconded,” Verma said.

Bansal, 43, was appointed additional advocate general when Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s government came to power in Haryana in 2005.

He resigned from the post of additional advocate general Monday after he was booked by police, leaving the Hooda government embarrassed.

Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur is seized of the matter.

Prakash told police that Bansal sent him to deliver the money that had come from Delhi. Bansal said the money was to be given to Nirmal Singh and not to the judge.

However, investigating officers found that Bansal had spoken to some high court judges before and after the money episode last week.

Pankaj Bhardwaj, a lawyer at whose residence the money was allegedly to be delivered, said he did not know anything about the money deal.

“I do not know anything about the money involved in the case. Bansal had called me and said he was sending some property documents for my scrutiny. He did not say anything about the money.”

Prakash, who was a Home Guard volunteer with the Chandigarh police, was arrested Aug 16. He was produced in court Tuesday. His police remand has been extended to three more days, said the official.

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