Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rs 10 crore secured bail for Gayatri Prajapati, reveals HC probe

The bail granted to UP ex-minister Gayatri Prajapati in a rape case had led to a huge furore, and it now emerges that the relief was part of a deep conspiracy in which senior judges were involved.

A sum of Rs 10 crore also changed hands in the "deal".

The startling facts came to light after Allahabad high court Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale sought an inquiry into Prajapati's bail. The probe revealed high-level corruption in posting of judges to sensitive courts which handle cases of heinous crimes such as rape and murder.

In his report, Bhosale said additional district and sessions judge O P Mishra, who granted bail to Prajapati on April 25, was posted as POCSO (protection of children from sexual offences) judge on April 7 when he had just three weeks left for retirement.

He was appointed bypassing norms and by removing a judge who was "handling the assignment efficiently" for a year.

IB probe establishes graft in judge's POCSO posting

The report said the grant of bail was settled upon payment of Rs 10 crore, of which Rs 5 crore was shared among three lawyers who acted as middlemen and Rs 5 crore was paid to the POCSO judge (Mishra) and district judge Rajendra Singh who posted Mishra to the sensitive court.

Singh has been questioned and his elevation as an HC judge has been withdrawn by the Supreme Court collegium pending further action.

"Laxmi Kant Rathaur, who was assigned POCSO jurisdiction on July 18, 2016, was doing very well. There was absolutely no justification or reason to change him suddenly and appoint O P Mishra as POCSO judge on April 7, 2017, more so when he was about to retire within three weeks," Justice Bhosale is believed to have observed in his confidential report.

After a nudge from the SC, the UP police had registered an FIR on February 17 against Prajapati, a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, in a rape case.

He was arrested on March 15 and moved a bail application in Mishra's court on April 24. A day later, he was granted bail even as the investigation was still in progress.

A probe by the Intelligence Bureau established corruption in Mishra's posting to the sensitive POCSO court and raised questions on the transfer-posting regime in UP's subordinate judiciary.

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