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CJI orders hearing of plea by Pul’s wife on note he left before suicide

Order to be delivered today; note alleges corruption by judges’ kin, politicians.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
Updated: February 23, 2017 4:18:39 am
Kalikho Pul, Kalikho Pul suicide, Kalikho Pul suicide note, j s khehar, supreme court, arunachal pradesh chief minister, Kalikho Pul probe, pul suicide probe, pul suicide investigation, indian express news, india news Pul allegedly committed suicide in August last year.

Chief Justice of India J S Khehar has ordered grant of an open court hearing to Dangwimsai Pul, the first wife of former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, who has demanded registration of an FIR and investigation into a note attributed to her husband who allegedly committed suicide on August 9 last year.

The Supreme Court registry informed Dangwimsai about the hearing on Wednesday evening and sought her appearance in court. She was also told that her letter had been converted into a criminal writ petition and would come up for hearing before a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and Uday U Lalit on Thursday.

WATCH VIDEO | Ex-Arunachal CM Kalikho Pul Left Behind “Secret Notes” Before He Was Found Hanging: Rajkhowa

Read | Get Kalikho Pul’s diaries probed by agency ‘deemed fit’, Pema Khandu govt tells MHA

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The development comes a day after The Indian Express first reported that the CJI, on the administrative side, passed an order late Tuesday on Dangwimsai’s letter, apprising her of the decision.

“I received a call from the registrar general of the court, asking me to appear in court tomorrow. I was told by the official that the matter will be listed through the supplementary list and that I should reach the court in the morning,” Dangwimsai said. She said she would show up in court Thursday and would, in the meantime, seek legal advice.

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In a 60-page note in Hindi, Pul purportedly wrote about his commitment to probity and alleged corruption by a range of public figures. His allegations named former and serving Supreme Court judges, senior law officers, politicians and other persons holding high office.

One of the charges made in the note was that relatives of two judges had, via some individuals, indicated that they wanted money from Pul in exchange for ensuring that President’s rule in Arunachal would not be declared illegal.

Read | Kalikho Pul left explosive secret notes, can rock politics: Ex-Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

Dangwimsai made the note public recently in New Delhi and also released her letter addressed to the CJI, seeking an FIR into the accusations and an independent probe. Her letter underlined that prior permission from the CJI or other senior judges was imperative before registration of the FIR and launching an investigation against members of the higher judiciary.

Read | Kalikho Pul: A carpenter who became Arunachal chief minister

Her appeal has been supported by a conglomeration of lawyers and activists, called Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), which includes lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

A statement issued by the CJAR following her media briefing in New Delhi stated: “In our view, it would not be appropriate for such a sensitive matter to be investigated by an investigative agency under the control of the government. We, therefore, feel that this needs to be investigated by a(n) SIT set up by a committee/bench of five senior-most judges who are not mentioned in the suicide note.”
In July 2016, the Supreme Court had quashed imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh, resulting in the restoration of the Congress government and ouster of Pul who had become Chief Minister in February last year with the support of BJP legislators after he left the Congress.

On August 9, the body of Pul, 47, was found in his official bungalow, which he was preparing to vacate. The note attributed to Pul was dated August 8, a day before his body was found, and was titled “Mere Vichaar” (My Thoughts). The note suggested that he was purportedly under extreme pressure to pay bribes to judges, top law officers and lawyers, as well as other influential politicians.

On October 25 last year, days after his resignation, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa had told The Indian Express that the note had prompted him to seek a CBI inquiry into the circumstances leading to Pul’s death.

When contacted then, Arunachal Pradesh DGP S Nithianandan told The Indian Express: “We are going to file the investigation report on former chief minister Kalikho Pul’s death as soon as possible. But we have not yet investigated the 60-page notes that he left behind.The mandate given to us was a limited one – to know the nature of Mr Pul’s death. We don’t know if those pages are general notes or suicide notes. I have not read them.”

“Pul’s diary is part of the panchnama and it was duly sealed and handed over to the magistrate. The court is likely to go through our report and, on the basis of our report, if the court thinks it fit, it can ask us to investigate details of those notes,” Nithianandan had then said.

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