The three-member committee constituted by the Rajya Sabha Chairperson to look into the alleged irregularities committed by Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen,including alleged misappropriation of Rs 33.22 lakh when he was a lawyer,was on Sunday told that the allegation against the judge had been established to be true.
Senior lawyer Sidharth Luthra,who is assisting the committee comprising Supreme Court Judge B Sudershan Reddy,Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and jurist Fali S Nariman,told the panel that Sen,before being appointed as the judge,had misappropriated the funds to the tune of Rs 33.22 lakh as a court-appointed receiver.
Not just this,dropping a bombshell,Luthra also told the committee that the judge had a past history of misappropriating funds. As court-appointed receiver of Calcutta Fans,Sen misappropriated Rs 70 lakh,the counsel said.
In his final arguments,Luthra said,Some questions regarding the allegations could be best answered by the judge himself.
He also said Sen had used the misappropriated money for his personal expenses and his claim that the act was an error of judgment could not be accepted as his defence.
The committee,which was constituted in February last year,is expected to complete its hearings on Monday,after which it will submit its findings to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson for further action.
On Sunday,Luthra referred to various entries in bank accounts held by Sen in his personal and professional capacity as the court-appointed receiver and highlighted the alleged discrepancies.
Asked how the allegation of misappropriation of funds could be substantiated,he said,Over Rs 57 lakh was deposited by Justice Sen in the receivers account,but there was no evidence as to from where that money came…The judge in question never complied with the HC order asking him to reveal the source of deposited money as most of his bank accounts,held in personal and professional capacities,had become dormant by then.
On Monday,the panel will hear the counsel for Sen,who has denied the charges brought against him.
The fate of the impeachment motion filed by 58 Rajya Sabha members hinges to a large extent on whether the committee agrees with the recommendation of former CJI K G Balakrishnan to impeach Sen.
As first reported by The Indian Express,Balakrishnan in a letter to the Prime Minister on August 4 last had recommended Sens removal. An in-house committee comprising three judges had also held Sen guilty. In its report,dated February 1,2008,the committee of judges had concluded that Sen had misappropriated funds running into several lakhs while he was a court-appointed receiver in two civil disputes,holding that his misconduct was so serious that it called for initiation of proceedings for his removal.
However,Sen refused to do so. Last year,58 members of the Rajya Sabha had moved a motion to impeach the judge.