Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PF scam: SC ex-judge, 23 lower court judges indicted But No Prosecutable Evidence Against Them, CBI Tells SC

New Delhi: This is the biggest ever indictment of the country's judiciary. An extensive CBI probe into the fradulent withdrawal of Rs 6.58 crore from the provident fund accounts of class III and IV employees in the Ghaziabad district court, has found a former Supreme Court judge along with 23 other sitting and retired judges of Allahabad High Court and lower court judges guilty of misdemeanour.

After investigating as many as 47 judges for their alleged role in the scam, the CBI on Wednesday submitted a report to the Supreme Court detailing the misdemeanor and acts of omission and commission of those found guilty. Though the judges in question are being let off because of lack of “prosecutable evidence”, the findings of CBI probe can jolt those who play down the growing instance of irregularities in judiciary, saying that the phenomenon was limited to lower rungs.
The report perused by a Bench comprising Justices D K Jain, V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi contained the name of Justice Tarun Chatterjee, who retired on January 14 this year after nearly five and a half years as SC judge. Though the former SC judge had denied any role in the wrong doing during the questioning done with prior permission of the then CJI, the CBI has said he had committed a “folly” which was an “indiscretion without any criminal intent”. The Bench deferred a decision on the request from counsel Prashant Bhushan to make CBI's findings public.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati informed the Bench that the report was also being given to Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and Allahabad High Court Chief Justice for taking action on the administrative side against the 24 judges, who were found to have committed acts of commission and omission but were not being proceeded against due to lack of “prosecutable evidence”.
What was worse, the AG vehemently argued for transfer of the trial of the PF scam from Ghaziabad to Delhi while accusing the sitting district judge of interfering with the trial by attempting to rope in the Uttar Pradesh Police as prosecution in the case and asking CBI to take a back seat despite the agency having been entrusted the task of investigation by the apex court.
Vahanvati explained that if the district judge, under whose administrative jurisdiction the CBI judge conducting the trial functions, was to take such a stand, then the trial would be vitiated. More so, because the CBI has already chargesheeted six judges along with 72 others in the scam.

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