The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to its Vigilance Cell and the court administration over “unsatisfactory” investigation against two judicial officers, who were purportedly caught on camera “settling money” and suspended in September 2014. It asked why the probe should be not handed over to the CBI.
The court was annoyed with the fact that investigating officer failed to file the chargesheet in time, which resulted in default bail to one of the accused.
The case involves Judicial Magistrates (First Class) A D Acharya and PD Inamdar, who while posted at Vapi court in Valsad district, were allegedly caught in a spy camera fitted in their offices by complainant Jagat Patel, a local lawyer. The recordings, both in audio and video formats, purportedly showed the two judges “settling money” with the defence lawyers.
An FIR was lodged against them by the Vigilance Cell police station of the High Court. They were arrested on September 9. On December 9, the complainant Jagat Patel moved the High Court claiming that the investigation was not thoroughly done by the vigilance cell and, therefore, prayed that the case should be transferred to CBI. He also said the investigating agency failed to file chargesheet in stipulated time.
Under the provisions, the chargesheet has to be filed in three months from the day of arrest.
Last week, while hearing the petition, Justice J B Pardiwala said, “It is very shocking to note that in a very serious offence of corruption wherein two judicial officers are involved, the investigating officer failed to file chargesheet within the statutory time period.”
Justice Pardiwala noted he was, prima facie, convinced that the investigation was not proceeding in the right direction.