Supreme Court panel begins probe into cash-for-judge scamSeptember 30th, 2008 - 12:02 am ICT by IANS
Chandigarh, Sep 29 (IANS) A three-member committee set up by the Supreme Court to look into the cash-for-judge scam that rocked the city last month began its proceedings Monday.The committee members, who reached here Sunday, held meetings with concerned officials at the government guesthouse here. Mediapersons were not allowed to enter the premises and neither was there a press briefing on the proceedings.
The committee comprises 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. It was set up by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan.
Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, on whose complaint the case was registered, was the first to be called for examination by the panel.
The committee also questioned the main accused, Sanjeev Bansal, who allegedly sent the cash to the judge’s residence.
It also quizzed Bansal’s wife Renu Bansal, Pankaj Bhardwaj, a lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Bansal’s assistant Parkash Ram, home guard Nirmal Singh and property dealer Rajiv Gupta.
The committee’s probe is separate from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigations into the case.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court was shocked 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 judge Nirmaljit Kaur. She complained to the police and a case was registered.
The police later arrested then Haryana additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal, property dealer Rajiv Gupta and Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh in this connection.
Bansal and Gupta told the police that the money was meant for another high court judge, Nirmal Yadav. They said that another packet containing Rs.1.5 million was separately delivered to Yadav at her Sector 24 official residence last month.
They had said that they delivered the money to the judges on instructions of Ravinder Singh. However, Singh has denied in court it was his money.
The CBI has already questioned the two 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.
She has denied her involvement in the scam, claiming it was a conspiracy against her.
The police and CBI investigations have indicated the accused were in touch with certain high court judges last month to get the matter sorted out.