November 18, 2015 12:50:56 am
Underlining that it may set a “dangerous precedent”, the government on Tuesday favoured closure of Supreme Court proceedings against former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan over allegations of illicit monetary transactions and disproportionate assets.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra that after the income tax inquiry against the former CJI and his family “yielded nothing”, there should not be a fresh probe by the CBI or any other agency.
“I-T assessments were done. There was undervaluation in some cases and enhanced taxes were paid. We cannot have investigation like this in such cases. Everybody will start making wild allegations. It will set a bad precedent…a dangerous precedent,” he said.
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As first reported by The Indian Express in October 2013, the I-T inquiry into complaints that Balakrishnan and his family amassed assets disproportionate to their income during his tenure as the CJI between January 2007 and May 2010 had failed to produce any incriminating evidence to link their monetary transactions to cases pending in courts.
In its affidavit, the government had said it had referred the matter to the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue and Central Board of Direct Taxes, which gave a supplementary status note dated April 18, 2012 on income-tax investigations in which the allegations were found unsubstantiated.
Citing the outcome of this inquiry, Rohatgi Tuesday told the bench a CBI probe cannot be initiated now as it will set a bad precedent and will encourage “wild allegations” against a person whose reputation will be at stake.
Further, the PIL by NGO Common Cause, the law officer argued, had sought Balakrishnan’s removal as the chairperson of the NHRC, and hence the plea has become infructuous after the former CJI’s term ended.
The bench asked Rohatgi if the sources of income of Balakrishnan’s relatives had been examined. Rohatgi replied that the brother and sons-in-law of the former CJI were lawyers and their professional receipts had been examined and did not corroborate the charges.
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