Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has given his approval to suspend Railway Claims Tribunal judge RK Mittal, under the scanner for a Rs 50 crore scam related to compensation claims in Patna. The file was pending with the office of the previous CJI for months. Justice Gogoi’s office cleared it this week and sent his approval to the Railway Board, sources confirmed.
This is the first time that a sitting RCT judge is facing suspension over corruption charges. The case is being investigated by Justice UU Lalit on the allegations of financial irregularities by Mittal in connivance with a select group of lawyers appearing for victims of railway accidents.
RCT Chairman Justice K Kannan had written to the Railway Board seeking Mittal’s suspension a few months ago. Mittal was transferred to the Trivandrum bench of the RCT from Ranchi earlier this year after the scam came to light.
The Railway Board had considered legal opinion that a sitting judge of a tribunal could not be suspended without the CJI’s approval. The file was then sent to the CJI’s office.
The scam, unearthed by an internal investigation by the Principal Bench of the RCT, was reported by The Indian Express.
The probe found that Mittal as judge of the Patna bench had awarded compensation claims amounting to at least Rs 50 crore to fictitious victims and to the same claimants for the same accidents several times. It was also indicated in the probe report that lawyers pocketed the money in genuine cases.