August 12, 2021 4:30:04 am
Former BJD MLA Pradeep Panigrahi on Wednesday filed a contempt petition against Odisha Lokayukta Justice Ajit Singh and Lokayukta Secretary Manas Tripathy for allegedly forging High Court orders pertaining to a vigilance probe against Panigrahi.
After Panigrahi’s arrest in December last year by the crime branch, the Lokayukta directed the state vigilance department to probe the corruption charges against Panigrahi. The BJD leader was expelled by his party and served seven months in prison before being granted bail.
It was the first such case of corruption against a politician that was referred by the state government to the Lokayukta after its creation. But the High Court in February dismissed the Lokayukta’s order, saying that a complainant can not be the investigator in a quasi-judicial proceeding.
The Lokayukta then filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court on April 5.
Panigrahi, in his contempt petition, has now alleged that the High Court order as submitted by the Lokayukta with the SLP has been forged. “No such order running into six pages containing nine paragraphs exhaustively dealing with the provisions of law, including the grounds of locus standi for dismissal of the view of judicial proceedings in the review petition,” the contempt petition stated. “The parties have forged, fabricated and manufactured the alleged judgement for the purpose of litigation before the apex court.”
Papers accessed by The Indian Express show the difference in the two orders — there are nine additional paragraphs on the proceedings in the allegedly forged order which also favours dismissing the vigilance probe.
Panigrahi’s lawyer Pitambar Acharya said, “I have never seen such a misconduct. It is not just contempt but also a crime to forge judicial documents and also provide them as part of the SLP in the apex court.”
The Indian Express tried to contact Justice Singh and Tripathy for comment, but they were unavailable.
High Court Registrar Suman Mishra refused to comment on the matter, saying he was not authorised to do so.