CBI Special Judge, Shashi Bala Chauhan, Tuesday recorded the statement of sitting judge of the Rajasthan High Court Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, in the infamous judge bribery case, in which she stood by the prosecution.
Deposing before the court for the first time through video confrencing on Tuesday, Kaur state that on August 13, 2008, her peon Amrik Singh had come to her residence with some papers. She said, “Amrik came inside and said mamdameji Delhi se papers aye hai. The papers were in a polythene bag and were packed well with a tape.”
Kaur stated that when her peon opened hthe bag, she had a glimpse of the currency notes that were stuffed inside.
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“As soon as I saw currency notes inside the bag, I shouted to catch hold of the man who got this,” she stated.
According to Kaur’s statement, she had immediately told the security to call the police.
Narrating the incident, she further said, “I don’t remember which police cop had come but I told them to take the man and the money away. Then, I immediately received a call from Sanjeev Bansal who told me that the bag had come to me instead of some Nirmal Singh by mistake.”
She then told accused, advocate Sanjeev Bansal, that she had given the man and the money to the police and Bansal can collect could collect it from there.
Justice Nirmaljit Kaur stated that she was very disturbed after handing over the person and the bagful of money to the police. Then she called the then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. But the Chief Justice did not pick up the land-line. Justice Kaur then called Justice MS Gill and requested him to share the Chief Justice’s number. She stated while recording her statement, “Justice Gill asked me what had happened and I told him the whole incident briefly. Then Justice Gill told her that Chief Justice has not shifted to his residence and he was still residing in the Punjab Bhavan.” Following which she called at the residence of Punjab Bhavan and she was assured that the then Chief Justice will call him back.”
Justice Kaur received a call back from the then Chief Justice and she narrated the whole incident to him.
It is pertinent to mention here that the present Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur was the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at the time of the incident. Justice Thakur was appointed as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 11, 2008.
“Next day, a police officer came and told me that the money in the bag was Rs 15 lakh. She stated that Amrik gave a handwritten complaint the next morning on the directions of Justice Kayr and a DDR was registered by the UT police,” said Kaur.
The defence lawyers then cross-examined Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. The defence lawyers asked her how did she recognise that it was Sanjeev Bansal when he called her to which she responded that he had introduced himself as soon as she picked up his call. She was further asked if she knew Bansal personally to which she said, “Sanjeev Bansal’s wife, Saranjit Kaur, had worked with me as a junior.”
She further stated during her cross-examination that she had recently been promoted as a High Court judge when the incident had happened and was very disturbed. She said, “I was promoted as a judge on July 10, 2008. It was only 33 days after promotion that the incident had occurred.”
She also said that she had testified before a three-judge committee that was formed to probe the cash-at-judge’s-door case.
The three-judge committee comprised of Justice Hemant Lakshman Gokhle, Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Madan B Lokur.
The defence counsel further asked her if the committee exonerated anyone.
To which she replied that no one was exonerated. She further told the defence counsel, “Why don’t you ask me more questions about the committee?”