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SC on sexual harassment charge against CJI: Lawyer's submission of conspiracy to frame CJI very serious, disturbing

News Agencies | Updated on: 24 April 2019, 15:20 IST
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

A special bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday termed as "very serious and disturbing" the submission by a lawyer that a corporate person and other fixers were involved in a conspiracy to frame sexual harassment charge against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman and Deepak Gupta observed that the contention of advocate Utsav Bains needs to be investigated.

It summoned the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Delhi Police Commissioner for an in-chamber meeting.

"Can you call to our chamber the director of CBI?" Justice Mishra asked Attorney General KK Venugopal.

Justice Mishra after perusing the affidavit of Bains, said, "CJI (Gogoi) was trying to clean up the system. No CJI has shown the courage to take action against certain elements. He was acting without fear of anyone."

Handing over "material evidence" to the court in a sealed cover, Bains said, "I have a CCTV footage, which is real evidence. I am submitting material evidence to this court. The accused-mastermind is very powerful."

During the proceedings, the bench said that an in-house panel, constituted to investigate the sexual harassment charges against the CJI, will continue, but another independent investigation was required to look into larger conspiracy behind the allegations against Justice Gogoi.

On Tuesday, a three-member committee of the apex court led by Justice SA Bobde, the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice, was formed to look into the allegations of sexual harassment made by a dismissed employee against Justice Gogoi.

The other two members of the committee are Justices NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee. Justice Ramana is the third in the seniority list in the apex court and will the Chief Justice after the retirement of Justice Bobde.

The committee has also issued a notice to the woman and asked her to be present before it on April 26.

Bains had on Monday filed an affidavit in the top court, saying there was a larger "conspiracy" playing out to compel the CJI to resign.

He claimed that when he refused to take up the case on finding several loopholes in her story, the person offered him Rs 50 lakh, which was raised to Rs 1.50 crore.

The advocate submitted in his affidavit that on inquiry, he found that "certain fixers", who claim to be engaged in "managing" judgements in exchange for cash, were behind the plot as the Chief Justice had taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers.

According to the affidavit, "The said fixer Romesh Sharma was running a 'cash for judgment' racket in cahoots with businessmen and politicians and had exercised considerable influence for years, which ultimately was brought to an end by the present CJI, as he took decisive action against them after becoming the CJI."

"There was a conspiracy against the Chief Justice of India to force him to resign and thereby threaten every judge with dire consequences for being free and fearless in dispensing justice while pronouncing judgments against the rich and powerful in the country," Bains said.

-ANI

First published: 24 April 2019, 15:20 IST
 
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