In the 2008 cash-at-judge’s door case, three witnesses, including the wife of prime accused Sanjiv Bansal, were declared hostile by the special CBI Court of Chandigarh on Saturday, on the request of the CBI special public prosecutor.
The public prosecutor had submitted the request on the grounds that the three were suppressing the truth and resiling from statements given in 2008 under Section 161 of the CrPC.
The three witnesses, including Renu Bansal (wife of Sanjiv Bansal), Raj Kumar Jindal (cousin of Sanjiv Bansal), and Santosh Tripathi, a former colleague of Bansal, had testified in the CBI Court of ADJ Dr Sushil Kumar Garg on Saturday. The CBI public prosecutor Anupam Gupta, however, during the cross examination made the three hostile witnesses confront their Section 161 of the CrPC statements as submitted in 2008, from which they retracted.
Renu Bansal had said, “I cannot recollect anything as to what happened on August 13, 2008…I do not know accused Ravinder Singh personally…I do not remember as to whether Sanjiv Bansal and Ravinder Singh had spoken to me that day regarding any High Court Judge or sending any sum of money to any High Court Judge.”
Over this, CBI public prosecutor Gupta had made Renu Bansal confront the statements she had recorded in 2008, which read, “On August 13, 2008, my husband had gone to Delhi in the morning to attend a case in the Supreme Court. Around 6:30 pm, I received a call on my mobile from Sanjiv Bansal, who asked me to give Rs 15 lakh to Parkash Ram, his Munshi, for delivering the same to Justice Nirmal Yadav at her residence between 8 to 8:30 pm, and he also gave directives to inform the judge that Ravinderji had sent the same. I made a call to the office situated on the first floor of our house, the phone was picked up by Head Munshi Jai Parkash Rana. I told him about the message sent by Sanjiv Bansal and asked him to send Prakash down. Parkash came down, I told him about the said message of Sanjiv Bansal and also told him to collect the money packet from me around 7:45 pm and deliver the same at Justice Nirmal Yadav’s residence…I remember clearly that I had specifically told him to deliver the said money to Justice Nirmal Yadav. The packet was prepared by me and the amount consisted of notes in the denomination of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500…Around 8.45 pm, I again rang up my husband and asked about his location, then he told me that Prakash had committed a blunder. He had delivered the said money at the residence of Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur instead of Justice Nirmal Yadav, and Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur had called the police and he would go to the Sector 11 police station.”
According to the records, she had further said, “My husband returned home around 12:30 am. He also informed me that after the said incident, he received a phone call from Justice MS Gill, asking him whether he had sent the said the money packet and then he informed him that his munshi had by mistake delivered it at the residence of Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur. Then, Justice Gill asked him for whom the said money was sent. On this, he told him in a spur of moment that it was meant for one Nirmal Singh for a property deal sent by Ravinder Singh from Delhi.”
According to Renu’s 2008 statements, on the morning of August 14, 2008, her husband gave the said packet containing Rs 15 lakh to Rajiv Gupta, who gave it to Justice Nirmal Yadav around 9:15 am. “Later on my husband informed me that Rs 15 lakh had been delivered to Justice Nirmal Yadav at her residence,” read Renu’s statement. However, in the recent court proceedings, she retracted and said that she had not recorded the said statement in 2008.
Apart from Renu, Raj Kumar Jindal said that Sanjiv Bansal was his cousin (maternal uncle’s son), while he did not know Ravinder Singh. He had added that in August 2008, when he went to meet Sanjiv Bansal’s father at his residence, he came to know that there was some case but there was no discussion regarding the same.
Jindal was then made to revisit his Section 161 of the CrPC statements, recorded in 2008, which read, “Ravinder Singh is also known to me, as he is one of Sanjiv’s friends and he ran Hotel Ridgeview in Delhi…I got to know that Sanjiv had gone to Delhi on August 13, 2008, for attending a case proceeding in the Supreme Court. After attending the proceedings, he had lunch with his friend Ravinder, who gave him a packet of Rs 15 lakh for giving it to Justice Nirmal Yadav at Chandigarh. The money was wrongly delivered by his Munshi Parkash Ram at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur and in turn, Justice she had called the police…I also knew about Nirmal Singh, who was to be presented before the police as actual proposed receiver of the sum of Rs 15 lakh.” Jindal, however, denied that he was willfully resiling from his statement recorded by the CBI in 2008.
Santosh Tripathi, who had said in the CBI Court that in 2008, he used to go to Sanjiv Bansal’s office as a researcher to learn about professional legal work. Tripathi was also confronted with his statements of Section 161 of the CrPC made in 2008 to CBI, which read, “On September 2, 2008, the CBI team brought Sanjiv Bansal at his residence in Sector 8 of Panchkula. I was present there…Bansal had pointed to the files / briefs pertaining to the matters pending / decided by Justice Nirmal Yadav. Thereafter, the CBI team took up these files in the police possession… I signed the said memo along with others…”
Tripathi said in the Court on Saturday that it was wrong to suggest that he had willfully resiled from his statement recorded in 2008.
The cash-at-judge’s door scam had come to light on August 13, 2008, when Rs 15 lakh was delivered to the residence of then Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. She had reportedly summoned the police and informed that cash was being delivered at her residence. Later, it was reportedly found that the money was to be delivered at Justice Nirmal Yadav’s residence but had got wrongly delivered. The chargesheet filed in the case had said that the money was meant for Justice Yadav in lieu of a judgment favouring a client of advocate Sanjiv Bansal (now deceased).