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Kerala bar owners bribed SC judge to retain licences: MP

Cong’s Kannur MP alleges that a judge pocketed Rs 36 lakh to lift a HC ban on 21 bar licences.

Senior Congress leader from Kerala,K Sudhakaran,has alleged that in 1994,a Supreme Court judge had pocketed Rs 36 lakh to lift a Kerala High Court ban on 21 bar licences in the state.

Sudhakaran,who represents Kannur in the Lok Sabha,said though he did not have any proof to back his allegation,he was ready to disclose the name of the judge and other details in a court if asked to do so.

Addressing a reception to felicitate Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishnan Pillai — sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in a corruption case — in Kottarakkara,Sudhakaran claimed he was a spectator to the incident that allegedly took place in Kerala House in Delhi towards the end of 1994.

He claimed the judge had been given Rs 36 lakh in two installments. The single-judge bench was to consider a petition of bar owners who wanted the SC to quash the high court order against licences issued by the then Congress government,led by K Karunakaran.

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After the judge was allegedly paid Rs 21 lakh,a messenger was sent to the aggrieved parties seeking more money with a promise that tax on the bars could be relaxed,Sudhakaran said. Rs 15 lakh was paid again,he claimed.

“I did not say it outside because of respect towards court as an institution. Not because I think that judges are honest,respectful towards law,efficient and honour the social system,” said Sudhakaran in the meeting.

The Congress MP told The Indian Express that he had no evidence to prove this allegation. “But what I said was truth. I will disclose the name of the judge and other details in a court if am asked to do so.”

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He said he was in Delhi at that time in connection with his review petition in the Supreme Court against the election of CPM leader O Bharathan from Edakkadu Assembly segment. Sudhakaran was defeated in the election in 1992.

“The review petition of the bar owners and my petition were before the same bench. A lawyer told me that they were dealing with the judge on the bar licence issue and he would be bribed. The lawyer asked me to come to Kerala House to see the transfer of money,” said Sudhakaran.

“Accordingly,I went to Kerala House and saw a lawyer handing over the amount to a clerk from the court. I was only a spectator. I have no evidence to buttress my claim.”

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Sudhakaran said he was ready to face any punishment for having “revealed the truth.”

In the meeting,Pillai and his son K B Ganesh Kumar attacked the judiciary. “When this Left government is gone,we will be lucky to see some of the family members of Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan loitering on the premises of the courts. Everything will come out,” Pillai said.

Ganesh Kumar said Achuthanandan,who was petitioner in the corruption case in which Pillai was convicted,tried to influence the judiciary.

Reacting to the charges,Achuthanandan said a reception for a person to be jailed in a corruption case was a challenge to the judiciary.

The CPM state secretariat,in a statement,demanded that the Supreme Court should suo motu make a case against Sudhakaran for levelling such allegations.

First published on: 14-02-2011 at 04:07:15 am
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