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CBI sources said the investigative agency would register a first information report before carrying out the arrests.
An Andhra Pradesh cabinet minister, two Karnataka legislators, a retired judge, a rowdy sheeter and the suspended judge's son are also believed to have played a role in striking the deal.
The exact deal amount remained a mystery but it is believed to be anywhere between Rs.5 crore and Rs.15 crore.
The judge allegedly demanded Rs.15 crore but the deal was finally struck for Rs.10 crore. He allegedly received Rs.3 crore as advance before granting bail to Reddy May 11 in the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) case.
The CBI Friday recovered part of the amount from bank lockers belonging to the judge's son.
The CBI, which grew suspicious of the judge's action, started investigations after a go-ahead from high court Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur.
The investigators tapped the judge's phone and questioned him, his son and others. The chief justice was informed of the preliminary investigations and, based on this, he suspended the judge late Thursday.
Janardhana Reddy's family allegedly approached the judge through Yadagiri, a rowdy sheeter of Nacharam area in Hyderabad, who then got in touch with a retired judge. A state minister is also suspected to have helped in the deal.
Janardhana Reddy's brother and Karnataka legislator G. Somasekhara Reddy allegedly met the middlemen in a hotel in Hyderabad to finally strike the deal. The accused's brother allegedly handed over the money, brought from Bellary town in Karnataka.
Despite Pattabhirama granting the bail, the mining baron remained in Bangalore jail, where he is lodged in another illegal mining case.
On a petition by the CBI, the high court later stayed the bail.
The mining baron was arrested by the CBI from Bellary Sep 5 last year in a case of illegal mining in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Off late there have been reports galore regarding judges being offered sites or houses under the discretionary quota of the Chief Minister. Recently there was an expose at the Orissa High Court. Prior to this there were reports from Karnataka and also another report which spoke about how the Narendra Modi government had offered prime lands to judges of the High Court.
The big question is whether judges deserve such treatment from the state government considering the fact that the government is the biggest litigant before any court in the country? Is this an illegality or is it corruption?
Who can refuse a good piece of land in Chennai city? It’s a way of rewarding people for good work done. No inquiry has been conducted in this matter so far. Discretionary quota is the prerogative of the government. After RTI came into existence, several activists are taking up the matter in court. Basically, there is no control mechanism or checks and balances. There is little transparency while awarding the GDQ — the plots are allotted without formal applications.
Yes, I was allotted a plot in Thiruvanmiyur Extension. Initial payment for the plot was Rs. 25 lakh. I never had that much money. So I requested the government to reduce the price. But there was no response. I did not want a house to compromise my integrity. So I never took possession. Later, in 2009, the government ordered a vigilance inquiry against me and cancelled the allotment. Frankly, I was not aware about the TNHB rules that bars a person having a plot, a flat or a house from claiming another plot.
Yes, it is a way of making you a part of the syndicate. Plots or flats are given to those civil servants, judges or relatives of the bureaucrats or politicians for complying with certain requirements. There is no procedure for IAS or IPS officers to get a land or plot or flat in a transparent manner. So everybody uses short cuts.
MY LORDS, THERE’S A CASE AGAINST YOU
Former Union law ministers are spearheading a campaign against sitting judges they accuse of being corrupt. What is the higher judiciary doing to clear itself of these grave charges?
Bhushan has categorically condemned the rot he feels has set in the judicial system. “The judiciary of this country is not merely unaccountable, but corrupt and brazenly so,” he wrote in a letter to President APJ Abdul Kalam on December 17. Bhushan has demanded that the President initiate impeachment proceedings against Justice Jagdish Bhalla of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahbad High Court. On December 14, a Supreme Court (SC) collegium recommended that Justice Bhalla be appointed the Chief Justice of the Kerela HC.
Bhushan and Jethmalani, along with noted lawyers and former justices, including Rajendra Sachar, Indira Jaisingh and Hardev Singh, have formed the Committee on Judicial Accountability (COJA) and presented documents to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), YK Sabharwal, to support their complaint against the sitting judges. COJA complained to the CJI on July 11 that Justice Jagdish Bhalla had amassed several illegal properties in the name of his wife and other close relatives. Justice Vijender Jain, the former senior Judge in the Delhi High Court, who was recently appointed the CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC, is also in COJA’s line of fire.
By questioning the integrity of Justices Bhalla and Jain, Bhushan has thrown open the much larger question of judicial accountability. (See interview) “Leave aside taking any action against corrupt judges like Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice Vijender Jain, the CJI has been actually avoiding even properly investigating charges against them,” says Bhushan. According to documents produced by COJA on 21 July 2003, Renu Bhalla bought a 7,200 sq. metre plot near the Noida-Greater Noida expressway. On 28 March 2005, Uday Shankar, dsp, Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida’s official name) submitted a report to the area dm in which he states that the sellers of the plot belong to the “land mafia”. In an enquiry submitted to the dm on 26 June 2005, RK Singh, the area sdm, also described the sellers as belonging to the “land mafia”. According to the two reports, the plots constituted a portion of the gram samaj (joint village property) land, illegally grabbed by the “land mafia”. (All the documents relating to the transaction are in possession of Tehelka)
The SDM’s report says that at the time of the transaction, the plot was worth Rs 7.20 crore in the open market, whereas Renu Bhalla paid Rs 5 lakh for it. The two reports also state that the sellers of the plot have been charged in several criminal cases, and had sold plots to several influential people to curry favour with them. Renu Bhalla is the wife of Justice Jagdish Bhalla.
Bhushan has also drawn attention to the July 2005 draw of lots for allotment of plots in Sector 44 in Greater Noida. When the computerised draw threw up several influential names, a few people approached the Allahabad HC alleging foulplay. In October 2005, the HC decided that the case warranted a fresh draw of lots and ordered a cbi inquiry into the scam. Among those who had been allotted plots in the scrapped list were Aarohi Bhalla and Sheeba Sabharwal. Aarohi Bhalla, who is the son of Justice Bhalla, was allotted plot number f-52, while Sheeba Sabharwal, daughter-in-law of the CJI YK Sabharwal was allotted plot number f-78. In November 2005, the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad HC judgement, putting the cbi enquiry and the HC’s order to hold a fresh draw of lots on hold.
“The CJI did not even call us to hear our point,” says Bhushan. “I don’t know why Justice Sabharwal is shielding Justice Bhalla!” Bhushan is equally critical of Justice Vijender Jain.
Justice Jain, who took oath as the new CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC in November, had to endure many delays before he could be appointed to the post. The CJI had to make three efforts to promote Justice Jain. A collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India first recommended Justice Jain’s name for the post in July. However, President APJ Abdul Kalam returned the file, causing a minor embarrassment to the CJI and the Union government. When the collegium reiterated its recommendation through the government in November, the President had to sign the file.
This time around, to address dissenting voices, the CJI also consulted other SC judges who happened to be former chief justices of the Delhi High Court. According to reliable sources, Justice Jain’s former seniors also questioned his integrity. However, on the basis of a majority, the proposal to promote him was forwarded to the Union government for the President’s assent.
A major hurdle in promoting Justice Jain continued on page 8 continued from page 6 was a complaint by one Subhash Agrawal who approached then CJI RC Lahoti in January 2005 with the complaint that Justice Jain had violated the code of conduct for judges. Agrawal claimed that Justice Jain gave a judgement in favour of someone with whom he had “family relations”. He produced a copy of the invitation card of the litigant’s granddaughter’s wedding, held in April 2001. According to the card, the venue of the wedding was the official residence of Justice Jain. (Tehelka has obtained a copy of the wedding card from the Central Information Commission). In November 2004, Justice Jain, hearing an appeal, decided a civil suit in favour of the person who had held his granddaughter’s wedding at his official residence.
When there was no response to his complaint in October 2005, Agrawal approached the SC to find out the status of his complaint under the rti Act. He was told that his complaint was in the relevant HC file. Not satisfied, Agrawal approached the Central Information Commission. On the commission’s insistence, the SC finally told Agrawal that his complaint had not actually been forwarded to the HC, as the SC has “no administrative jurisdiction” over high court judges. Therefore, the complaint was pending before the CJI, YK Sabharwal. The commission asked the CJI to act on the application. The CJI finally settled the complaint, saying he found no merit in it. When Agrawal asked for reasons behind the decision, he drew a blank.
It’s not just Bhushan who feels the need to bring about accountability and transparency in the judiciary. Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav says the issue will be discussed when the Judicial Accountability Bill is tabled in Parliament. “When the government tables the bill, all its aspects will be discussed,” Yadav told Tehelka.
CJI YK Sabharwal could not be reached for his comments. Despite conciliatory notes from him there are all indications that the clamour surrounding judicial misdemeanour and the demand for greater accountability will only increase in the days to come.
Dec 30 , 2006
|Burn After Reading|
BRIJESH PANDEY and SANJAY DUBEY track the Supreme Court’s lack of urgency in investigating charges of judicial corruption
As she was the designated vigilance officer at the Ghaziabad court, she first conducted an inquiry on her own, which uncovered the involvement of at least three judges and the Central Nazir in the embezzlement of funds. She reported the matter to the Allahabad High Court, which, in turn, ordered a vigilance inquiry. Holding that the report, prima facie, had merit, the court directed her to file an FIR.
Central Nazir Ashutosh Asthana was arrested on the basis of the FIR on April 10, 2008. His interrogation revealed that Asthana was not a solo player. He claimed that he was first introduced to the scam by a district judge himself. What followed was so shocking that even the Ghaziabad police was on the backfoot. Asthana confessed that from the Rs 7 crore embezzled, he had given cash and gifts such as airconditioners, refrigerators, expensive clothes, jewellery and furniture to as many as 36 judges, including about 10 High Court judges and one Supreme Court judge. In a sworn statement before a magistrate, Asthana revealed that this fraud had run from 2001 to 2007 with the active connivance of district judges. Every month, Asthana even paid bribes to various judges, from Rs 25,000 to a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh.
When these excerpts from Asthana’s confession became public, the public image of the judiciary touched a new low. In perhaps the biggest moment of crisis for the Indian judiciary, Asthana, the main accused, has in turn named judges from the Ghaziabad District Court to the Allahabad High Court, right up to the Supreme Court. This was not all.
These revelations stunned the Ghaziabad police. Clearly out of their depth and (justifiably) wary of taking on the powerful judiciary, they requested the Ghaziabad court to hand over the probe to the CBI. In September 2008, the Supreme Court transferred the case to the CBI, but with a rider: Investigate, but give us a sealed report. The PF scam, as it had come to be known, gave the judiciary a wonderful opportunity to redeem itself in the eyes of the people but the case remained shrouded in secrecy. Cynics then said that the whole matter would be given a quiet burial. Eighteen months after the scam became public and four CBI status reports later, the cynics appear to have had the last laugh.
And the apex court should answer, argues former Union law minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan. “I don’t appreciate this sealed-cover business except in very rare cases when making something public might be detrimental to the public interest — mainly if there is an army secret. Whether it is the judiciary or the executive, all officers are appointed on the behalf of the people. It is on the people’s behalf that the judiciary exercises its powers. How can you keep investigations in the PF scam secret? The people have every right to know what is going on.”
VN Khare, former Chief Justice of India, concurs. “These kind of things should not be allowed to linger. This shakes the confidence of the people in the judiciary. If there is an allegation or misconduct, it must be inquired into immediately and strict action should be taken against the erring judges. Why should the reputation of most judges suffer for no fault of theirs?”
“I know of a retired Chief Justice of India who is one of the most honest judges I have ever seen. It’s difficult to imagine a more honest person. However, when a responsible minister made complaints to him against a corrupt High Court Judge, he did not grant permission for an investigation because he felt that as the head of the judicial family, it was his job to protect judges, be they corrupt or not,” says Shanti Bhushan. Ram Jethmalani chips in sarcastically, “This is the reason why judges call each other ‘brother judge.’”
IT IS not only cases like the PF scam which taints the image of the judiciary, but also the extreme reluctance on the part of the judiciary to be open and transparent. Reams and reams of paper have gone towards pious exhortations by the judiciary asking the government to refrain from corruption and work in an efficient manner. But sadly, no judge has held forth at length on the need for the judiciary to refrain from corruption. Even attempts to exercise the Right to Information with respect to the office of the CJI came a cropper as the CJI’s office was always declared out of bounds. It took a historic verdict by the Delhi High Court to declare that the office of the CJI was not immune from accountability and outside the purview of the RTI Act. Senior lawyers and retired chief justices feel that if the judiciary is not transparent or accountable, it only means that they are trying to hide something. Justice Khare feels, “Judges are more accountable than other persons because they hold a very high post. The very existence of the judiciary is based on the faith of the common man in it. If that faith is not there, how can the judiciary function?”
But all this is very hard to achieve. Jurists feel that the judges of the higher courts have converted themselves into a union of sorts and are trying to protect each other. “Their approach is to sweep every allegation under the carpet. Don’t allow the public to know about it. Let the public believe that our judiciary is very honest. But this has been counterproductive. It has given a shield of total immunity to the judges and they think they can get away with anything. This has led to an increase in corruption in the judiciary,” states Shanti Bhushan. Time and again, opportunities have arisen for the judiciary to reinvent itself in a new avatar. And time after time, it has failed. Caesar’s wife, they say, should be above suspicion. Whatever the cost it might take to ensure it.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 41, Dated October 17, 2009
His companion justices of the Supreme Court of India
The humble application of the Petitioners above named.
2. Justice K.N. Singh,
3. Justice M.H. Kania,
4. Justice L.M. Sharma,
5. Justice M.N. Venkatchalliah,
6. Justice A.M. Ahmadi,
7. Justice J.S. Verma,
8. Justice M.M. Punchhi,
9. Justice A.S. Anand,
10. Justice S.P. Bharucha,
11. Justice B.N. Kripal,
12. Justice G.B. Patnaik,
13. Justice Rajendra Babu,
14. Justice R. C. Lahoti,
15. Justice V.N. Khare,
16. Justice Y.K SabharwalOut of these, in the applicant’s opinion, eight were definitely corrupt, six were definitely honest and about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt. The signed lists identifying these eight, six and two Chief Justices of India are being enclosed in a sealed cover which is being annexed here to as Annexure B.
In a decision termed “rarest of rare” by a city court, a trial court judge found a public prosector on the wrong side of the law.
DEALS IN COURTS & POLICE STATIONS READ :
ACCUSED Chief Justice of India
Now it is a known fact that Bhopal Gas Leak Case Verdict was FIXED years before , MATCH FIXED by then MP Government Chief Minister , Indian Prime Minister and most shame fully Chief Justice of India.
Now The Final Verdict is out in Bhopal Gas Tragedy . This kind of Injustice can only happen in banana republics , where rich crooks are protected by authorities & courts. SHAME SHAME to supreme court of India , supreme court of USA & Government of USA , for practicing double standards in enforcement of law & justice.
In India, Favorable treatment is given by police & courts of law for rich crooks where as poor innocents are harassed , tortured by the very same police & judges . In india Some MP , MLAs even take money for asking questions in parliament / legislature , Favourable laws are enacted to legalize crimes of rich crooks for example : Illegal land encroachments by rich crooks. The same MPs , MLAs are not aware about problems of poor public , they don’t even open their mouth for asking questions on welfare of poor , let alone enact laws for welfare of poor. No government law , no decisions of judges , no orders of public servants are sacrosanct . Hereby , e-voice urges the supreme court of india ,
1. To legally prosecute the jurisdictional police who changed the charge sheet , who let out Main criminalAnderson illegally without orders from the court.
2. To legally prosecute the SSP , DC of the district , Then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh & Then Prime Minister of GOI , who fully aided the main accussed , criminal Anderson to escape , to jump law.
3. To legally prosecute Indian Public Servants , who were responsible for withdrawing the case from US Courts of Justice.
4. To legally prosecute Then Chief Justice of India Justice Ahmadi & His bench colleagues , who diluted the case by changing the clause under which Anderson & others were charged.
The Public servants – Mps , MLAs , Judges , IAS / IPS officers , Police take thousands of rupees monthly salary , cars , bungalows , 5-star hotel stay together with 5-star meal complete with alchoholic drinks , 5-star health care at premium hospitals , business class air travel , foreign tours , etc all at tax payer’s expense. After enjoying to the hilt at taxpayer’s expense , these same public servants don’t serve the public , they serve the rich crooks , anti nationals in their greed for more money.
All the while the same poor tax payer suffers without justice . In India more than 50 Crore people are barely surviving on a single piece meal .Let the corrupt public servants eat their 5-star meals by the side of the graves of Bhopal Gas Victims. Atleast this will open the eyes of honest few in public service – police , judiciary & parliament , it is a fond hope. This is an appeal to those honest few in judiciary , police & parliament to catch hold of their corrupt colleagues.
Your’s sincerely ,
According to a senior official, "Most of the information sought has not only confirmed the veracity of the incident but the government has crosschecked it with another police agency. Both the reports match."
The incident was widely reported in the media. What has surprised the Centre is the "dogged refusal" of the Karnataka police to confirm the incident. "Mysore Police Commissioner C. Chandrasekhar first denied that the incident ever took place. Only when a public notice was issued through the high court registrar seeking information on the Mysore scandal, did the facts come out in the open. Public protest helped a lot," says the source.
What transpired at the resort, says the source, "cannot be expected from anyone in civil society, leave alone persons sworn to upholding the law". According to him, "The IB report consists of unmentionable facts and also makes it amply clear that the Mysore incident is not the first time such things have happened. Can anyone expect upholders of the law to pick a fight with people who complained to the police when caught in a compromising position?"
In a related development, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice N.K. Jain has written to Chief Justice of India Justice G.B. Pattanaik asking that three judges be transferred. Jain has proposed that Justice N.S. Veerabhadraiah be transferred to the Patna High Court, Justice Chandrasekharaiah to Jammu & Kashmir and Justice V. Gopala Gowda to the Gauhati High Court.
While Jain is understood not to have given any reasons, highly placed sources say the proposal for transfers is linked to the Mysore incident.
However, the source says that now the government is worried about the appropriate "remedial measures". In such cases, transferring a judge to a remote high court doesn't always work. He says, "Bar associations and the people of northeastern states were up in arms when some judges of the Punjab and Haryana high courts were transferred there. We expect similar protests if the CJI accepts Justice Jain's proposal to transfer the three judges of the Karnataka High Court."
The Bar Council of India on Friday, while expressing its anguish at the Karnataka incident, called for "follow-up action".
"Unless prompt and appropriate action is taken, it will erode the faith of public in the only institution considered to be the bastion of our fighting faith in democracy," it said in a statement. The BCI has "lamented" inaction in this case by "the higher judiciary and the government".
Read more: IB confirms Mysore sex scandal - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/IB-confirms-Mysore-sex-scandal/articleshow/29801662.cms#ixzz1B7PtvFdU
Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde disclosed that the official concerned, who was the deputy commissioner of one of the districts when he demanded sex from the widow in return for discharging his duties as public servant, has since been promoted to a senior position.
Justice Hegde, in the course of an interaction with journalists at the Deccan Herald office Saturday afternoon, said the unnamed widow had dared the deputy commissioner and approached the Lokayukta’s office with a complaint against the officer.
On examination of the complaint, the Lokayukta had found sufficient grounds to recommend to the state government the suspension and prosecution of the DC concerned. The recommendation was subsequently considered by the concerned department head as well as the chief secretary and both endorsed it.
But, according to Justice Hegde, no action was initiated against the DC as the same official who had endorsed the recommendation subsequently found no basis for initiating departmental action against him. Instead, the official cleared the DC’s name for promotion in the super-scale. Presently, the official holds a senior position in the government.
The widow, in her late 20s, had approached the DC with a representation to sort out some problems. But she was shocked when the DC demanded sex.
Justice Hegde did not identify the official in question or the complainant. Nor did he offer to name the district where the official was serving as deputy commissioner. But the incident has happened sometime in the course of last three years as Justice Hegde took over as the Lokayukta in mid-2006.
wapedia.mobi/.../Scheduled_Caste_and_Scheduled_Tribe_(Prevention_of_Atrocities)_Act,_1989 - Cached - Similar
A recent case of a Gujarat magistrate who issued arrest warrants against the President of India, the Chief Justice of India, a Supreme Court judge and a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has evoked interest in the media. There has been public concern essentially over the circumstances in which this order was procured and about how the names of the dignitaries concerned were disguised by not mentioning their designations and by seemingly spelling the names in full rather than as they are usually written. The complainant — there is a doubt whether the person in whose name the complaint was filed is real or virtual — simply approached a magistrate and made an apparently fictitious claim of having been cheated or defrauded.
A vital point to note about the “ordinary” criminal procedure (as distinguished from so-called special laws like the earlier Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) is that it is not in fact ordinary. As in the case of the existing Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, applicable in India, criminal procedure in post-colonial societies is modelled on or is an outgrowth of colonial procedure. Many provisions have been mechanically continued.
There are several problem areas in criminal procedure relating to case registration, police powers of arrest in respect of certain offences considered graver than others, magisterial powers to direct investigation and, in given situations, issue warrants of arrest, and, finally, in the investigation itself. These aspects of criminal procedure lend themselves to considerable abuse by the police and the subordinate judiciary.
The Code enables a complaint to be made to a magistrate under Section 190 and certain other provisions in case the police do not register an FIR on their own or after a complaint is made to them. On being so approached, magistrates have a variety of options, superimposed on, and sometimes even apart from the usual classification of offences on the basis of seriousness. But broadly during the pre-trial stage there are two magisterial approaches that may, with some risk of simplification, be called the Red and Green Channels. The first is to insist on some elaborate evidence or material being brought on record by the complainant before setting the law in motion. The second is to simply take the complaint on record, ask the complainant a question or two, and initiate the process by directing the police to investigate and, if necessary, issuing summons or warrants as the case may be. Complaints about cognisable (that is, cases in which the police may arrest without warrant) and non-bailable offences often tend to go through the Green Channel.
The difference in the two approaches is ironical and paradoxical. Thus if a parent finds that a minor daughter has been to enticed into a child marriage, and the police have failed to take action against those who organised it, the complaint would generally have to travel through the Red Channel. A child marriage is not necessarily treated as void in personal law, but those who organise it are liable to some minor punishments. A complainant under Section 190 of the Code read with the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 would have to produce what is known as “pre-summoning” evidence before the magistrate. Long dates might be fixed by the magistrate. Unless other steps are taken, the minor girl might even have produced a child and come of age by the time summons are actually issued to the accused persons.
The Green Channel operates differently. These cases include but are not limited to matters where the police are empowered to make arrests on their own. In a given case, the police may register an FIR and, if empowered, effect arrests on their own initiative.
The upshot is that under the existing Code of Criminal Procedure it is easier to obtain, with magisterial aid, arrest of persons in a false case concerning serious-looking offences than to obtain, in a genuine case, even a summons to the wrong-doer in what the law treats as less serious offences. The law offers a Green Channel for the first category and a Red Channel for the second category. There are no “remedies” to this particular malice; much depends upon the human material in the police and in the subordinate judiciary. But three important safeguards may be suggested. First, if it is not a capital case involving murder or rape or a case where there is a chance that the person against whom the charges are made would flee the country, there is no reason why a prior inquiry cannot be made before the criminal process is permitted to reach the stage of arrests or warrants for arrest. Second, if the complaint is not for a capital offence an affidavit ought to be required at an early stage from the complainant affirming the truth of the averments made by him. In the case of capital offences, which may involve greater urgency, such an affidavit may follow later.
It should be mandatory for a complaining party to disclose, in its own complaint before a magistrate, any prior complaints pending against it that may be connected with the same incident or party. A similar responsibility of disclosure must rest upon the police so that such cross complaints may, where appropriate and necessary, be taken up together in the criminal process. The criminal justice process must insist, to the extent this is attainable, upon truth at each stage rather than truth deferred in a bid to achieve interim and collateral objects.
Finally, closer attention is required at the drafting stage.
When the present Code was being drafted and the then Attorney-General appeared to give his evidence before the Joint Committee on the Draft Bill in October 1971 the following exchange occurred:
Chairman: Mr. Attorney General, you must have been very busy...
Witness: I have not gone into the matter in detail; I had no time.
Chairman: Have you gone through the Questionnaire?
Witness: I have read this Press Communiqué.
Chairman: And the Bill?
(Joint Committee on the Code of Criminal Procedure Bill, 1970, Evidence, Volume II, p. 178).
The inquiry revealed that leave extended from a few hours to even a couple of days.
It also found that this practice had been going on at the jail for nearly three years.
"I personally believe that perhaps more diligence should have been made before issuing these orders. The fact that he has already gone back (to jail) does not make a difference now," Pilot said while participating in a TV programme.
Asked whether it was a mistake for the Delhi government to have recommended parole for Sharma, Pilot said, "Well I am not Delhi chief minister. From whatever I know of the case, if I was the chief minister I would probably not have given the parole".
Sharma was granted parole after chief minister Sheila Dikshit recommended it. Sharma, who had applied for the parole on the ground of performing religious rites for his grandmother (who died in 2008), attending to his ailing -- later modified to 'ageing' -- mother, and business matters, in Chandigarh.
Significantly, the Delhi Police has gone on record to say that it had opposed the grant of parole. It has been reported that the Delhi government has so far received 132 parole applications this year out of which as many as 88 are still pending, 33 were rejected and 11 applicants were granted parole.
Dikshit had so far been under fire for justifying her decision, saying that it was within the "legal purview" only from the opposition BJP and legal luminaries, who had so far been protesting that it was a blatant case of partisanship. Not only was Manu Sharma granted parole on flimsy grounds, and his parole extended by another month on the recommendation by Dikshit, he clearly violated the parole conditions as well.
Opposition BJP points out that Manu Sharma's father Venod Sharma, who is an influential Congress leader in Haryana, played a major role in ensuring that the Congress government in Haryana could be sworn. He is believed to have been instrumental in getting the support of not only the seven independents but also the defectors from Haryana Janhit Congress which now only has Kuldeep Bishnoi left because as many as five of his MLAs joined Congress on Monday.
Sachin Pilot is the first Congress leader who has gone on record to even mildly express disagreement over the issue.
Nobody would have known
What is even more significant is that the news of Jessica Lal murder convict -- who is serving a life sentence for having shot dead the Delhi model on April 29, 1999 at the Tamarind Court Bar -- being out on parole came to public notice only because he was yet again involved in a brawl in a nightclub.
Observers point out that the brawl on the night of November 6 at F bar in New Delhi's Ashoka hotel that Manu Sharma and Sahil Dhingra got involved with Pranay Dadwal and his female friend may even have gone unreported or been hushed up had Delhi police commissioner's own son not been involved in the case.
The argument turned ugly and Pranay Dadwal informed his father, who happens to be none other than Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal.
It was because of this that a jeepload of cops landed up at the bar.
By then Manu Sharma and his friends had left F bar and moved to the exclusive LAP bar in the adjacent Samrat hotel, which is owned by Mumbai film actor and model Arjun Rampal.
By the time the police reached LAP, Manu had escaped. The police picked up Dhingra, and it was only on going through the CCTV video coverage that it could be confirmed that the person accompanying Dhingra was none other than the high profile Manu Sharma who, most people assumed, should have been in jail.
It was only then that it came to light that he had not only been granted parole, it had even been extended, while he had been out there partying at various nightclubs and bars, not only in Chandigarh, where he was supposed to be for the period of his parole, but also in Delhi.
Observers also point out how thee is nothing new in the subversion of justice in Manu Sharma's case, as the powers that be had almost ensured his acquittal in the Jessica Lal murder case, which got re-opened because of an unprecedented media and public campaign.
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