Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who has filed a complaint against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra under the “in-house procedure” for probing him, Tuesday alleged that the CJI “refused permission” to the CBI to lodge an FIR against a judge in connection with the Lucknow medical college graft case.
“There is serious prima facie evidence which certainly warrants an investigation…. The matter regarding… Prasad Education Trust was first allowed by the CJI to withdraw the petition and to file before the Allahabad HC…,” Bhushan said at a press meet in Delhi. He said the CBI has recorded conversations between former High Court judge I M Quddusi and other middlemen, “which clearly suggests a conspiracy to bribe the judge”. Bhushan said, “On September 6 (last year), CBI approached CJI to arrest the judge. However, CJI refused permission….”
The taped conversations are purportedly between Quddusi, a retired Judge of Orissa High Court who had been arrested by the CBI; Viswanath Agarwala, a middleman; and B P Yadav of Prasad Education Trust, the institution which was barred by Medical Council of India from admitting students. The institution had subsequently appealed before Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court. Bhushan maintained that “all this is not to say that CJI is definitely involved in the conspiracy, but that circumstances clearly call for an inquiry in this matter.”
Transcript excerpts | ‘Papa is saying, our captain… whatever he can do, he is ready’
Bhushan alleged that “in-house inquiry” ordered by the CJI against the judge “appears to be an eyewash”. He said, “If this was serious enough for in-house inquiry why was permission denied to CBI to register an FIR, particularly when the CBI had presented documentary evidence in the case? Therefore, the subsequent in-house inquiry ordered in this case appears to be an eyewash after this scandal became well publicised.”
On Monday, The Indian Express reported that Bhushan, as convenor of Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, had sent a complaint to the four Supreme Court judges who questioned some of the workings in the apex court under CJI Misra: Justices J Chelameswar, R Gogoi, K Joseph and M B Lokur. A copy of the complaint was also sent to Justice A K Sikri. The complaint calls for an inquiry against the CJI by either three or five senior Supreme Court judges for what are described as “various allegations of misconduct”.