The Supreme Court Tuesday sought the assistance of Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi to hear a PIL, seeking a CBI probe into alleged amassing of wealth by the kin of Justice K G Balakrishnan during his tenure as an apex court judge.
During the brief hearing, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant made it clear that the court would not go into the allegations of “benami” transactions but it said that the issue of alleged Income Tax violations could have been looked into.
“It is the duty of the Income Tax officer to find out the source of income. That action has not been taken,” it observed when Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner NGO Common Cause, alleged that around 21 properties have been acquired in the names of the son, daughter and brother of the former CJI.
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Moreover, he said the queries of the I-T department on sources of income have not been sufficiently replied to.
Bhushan pointed out that the prayer seeking the removal of Justice Balakrishnan as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has become infructuous since he has already demitted the office. “Sadly, the impression which is gaining ground is that the judiciary now ceases to be accountable and nothing can be done against it. This situation has very serious consequences,” he added.
Bhushan said that to restore the faith of people in the judicial system, the CBI should be asked to register a preliminary enquiry into the charges of disproportionate assets under the Prevention of Corruption Act, adding that he has annexed copies of certain sale deeds pertaining to some properties.
The PIL had sought initiation of removal process of Justice Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC chairman for alleged purchase of “benami” properties. The government has said that the I-T probe against Balakrishnan had failed to produce any incriminating evidence.