Kerala High Court judge Harun Ul Rasheed on Saturday said he was ready to face CBI probe into the Congress allegation that he had a meeting with CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan before passing orders in a petition pertaining to a land grabbing case against a former aide of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Justice Rasheed had come under attack from Congress leaders after he made adverse remarks against Chandy last week while ordering for CBI probe into allegations against his former gunman Salim Raj. Among other observations, the judge said presence of unscrupulous elements among the personal staff of Chandy and criminal activities called for a thorough probe.
Later, a division bench stayed a part of the observations. The Congress alleged Rasheed had a meeting with Balakrishnan. Party legislator T N Prathapan wrote to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, alleging the judge had crossed all limits and there were several instances in which had given verdicts favouring the CPM-led Opposition.
Addressing a seminar in the high court on Saturday, the judge said he was ready to face CBI probe and would keep away from the office until an investigation is over. He said he had met Balakrishnan in Delhi to invite him for daughter’s marriage. “There was no talk on Salim Raj case.” He said he has acquaintance with not only Balakrishnan, but also with Congress leaders.
“I am saying all this at this juncture, otherwise the existence of judiciary would be in danger. The situation in Kerala is not conducive for the smooth functioning of the judiciary. I am an upright judge, who makes verdicts after examining facts. I would not run away if someone tried to foist allegations on me. Those who don’t like a verdict should move appeal. Instead, everyone is criticising the court verdicts in TV channels.”
On the allegation that the verdict in the Salim Raj case could have been made after elections, he asked can a judge stock the verdict in his pocket until elections were over. A judge need not consider such matters, he said.