Days after an ITBP constable turned hostile in the 2008 cash-at-judge’s-door case, a clerk of one of the accused testified in court that he had given his statement “under pressure of ASP Madhur Verma of Chandigarh Police…”
Jai Prakash Rana, who is now an advocate and practising at the Punjab and Haryana High Court since 2011, was the clerk of accused Sanjiv Bansal (now deceased) in the case in 2008.
Jai Prakash Rana had on August 16, 2008, recorded his statements before a judicial magistrate under section 164 of CrPC, wherein he had submitted that, “I am giving my statements with my consent and there is no pressure.”
Rana had also stated that, “On August 13, 2008, I was sitting in my office on the first floor. At around 6.30 or 7 pm, I received a call from the wife of Sanjiv Bansal, who told me through intercom that…Sanjiv Bansal had called that Ravinder had sent money packet from Delhi, which is to be given at the house of Madam Nirmal Yadav, and so send someone downstairs. And I sent Prakash downstairs. Then I don’t know what happened, and later I learnt that the money packet was mistakenly sent to the house of Justice Nirmal Kaur instead of Nirmal Yadav. I don’t know the money was to be sent for which purpose and I just knew that the money was to be sent to Nirmal Yadav.”
Meanwhile, testifying in the special CBI court of Additional District Judge Sanjiv Joshi Saturday, Rana recorded that his earlier statement was recorded before Mahesh Kumar, the then JMIC, Chandigarh.
Reacting to Rana’s allegations that he recorded his earlier statement “under pressure’, the court asked him if he had brought this fact to the notice of the previous judicial magistrate, to which Rana replied in the negative and said he did not mention it in court earlier.
During Rana’s cross-examination, conducted by advocate AS Chahal, counsel for accused, Ravinder Bhasin, and advocate Vishal Garg Narwana, counsel for Justice (retd) Nirmal Yadav, he testified that, “…I was taken into custody by the Chandigarh police in the night of 19.8.2008…I was not allowed to meet any lawyer or family member, during the said period. I was not given any time to reflect before suffering the statement under Section 164 CrPC…”
“…I did not disclose to Mahesh Kumar, JMIC, about the pressure of ASP Madhur Verma because Madhur Verma had threatened he would implicate me in the case as an accused, in case I did not make the statement under Section 164 CrPC as per his direction. Accused Sanjeev Bansal was a very nice person and he always used to practice as a lawyer on merits…”
During the cross-examination, Rana also stated, “…since I was working as clerk with accused Sanjeev Bansal at that time, and because of his arrest, I got apprehension that I will also be implicated in the present case. I also did not want to create any enmity with the police. I started residing at Meerut in the house of my-laws, because I was directed by ASP Madhur Verma to leave Chandigarh, otherwise, I will also be put to problem of arrest as had been done in the case of accused Sanjeev Bansal…”
On Saturday, another witness, Sanjay Baweja, a neighbour of accused Ravinder Bhasin, testified in CBI court. Baweja said he is a neighbour of Bhasin and on good terms with him. He also identifed Bhasin in court. Both witnesses were not declared hostile by CBI.
The scam had come to light on August 13, 2008, when Rs 15 lakh was delivered to the residence of then Punjab and Haryana HC judge, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. She reportedly summoned police and informed about the cash being delivered at her residence. Later, it was reportedly found that the money was supposed to be delivered at Justice Nirmal Yadav’s residence but got wrongly delivered.
The CBI later took over the probe in the case. In its chargesheet, it had said that the money was meant for Justice Yadav in lieu of a judgment favouring a client of an advocate Sanjiv Bansal (now deceased). The four other accused in the case are Delhi businessman Ravinder Singh, a close friend of Justice Yadav; advocate Sanjiv Bansal; Rajiv Gupta and Nirmal Singh. They also face charges of offering a bribe to the then HC judge.
“The witnesses have stated the truth in court and spoken about the tainted investigation of prosecution,” Advocate Vishal Garg Narwana, counsel for Nirmal Yadav, told Chandigarh Newsline.