Accused by the Congress of being involved in negotiations to influence a Supreme Court verdict in a mining case in Karnataka, a son-in-law of former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said Friday that the allegation was politically motivated.
On Thursday, the Karnataka Congress had released two videos of 2010 and alleged the involvement of BJP’s B Sriramulu and G Janardhana Reddy in negotiations for an bribe for the ex-CJI’s son-in-law P V Sreenijan “to get a favourable judgment from the SC in the Obulapuram [Mining Company] case”.
“I have seen the videos, which are fabricated. There is no chance of me having been there,’’ said Sreenijan, who had also faced allegations of wealth amassment in 2010, when Balakrishnan was chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.
“There was no need to drag an ex-CJI’s family into the issue. Ahead of the Kerala elections, this was raised against me. Now, during another election time, the same issue has been dug up,’’ Sreenijan said. He said his father-in-law had heard a case relating to Janardhana Reddy’s mining firm. “What favouritism had he shown? I think the verdict in that case was given by another judge.”
In a special leave petition (Government of AP & Others v/s Obulapuram Mining Company P Ltd), a bench of Balakrishnan and others had issued an order on May 10, 2010, allowing Janardhana Reddy’s OMC to resume mining in some undisputed areas in Andhra Pradesh bordering Karnataka.
Reminded about this, Sreenijan said, “What is the element of favoritism in that order? The mining was not allowed in the disputed area. The Congress was ruling then [at the Centre]. The mining could have been stopped if the Survey of India wanted.” Sreenijan , who quit as state vice-president of Youth Congress in 2010 in the wake of wealth amassment charges, said the Congress was ruling Karnataka for five years and should have probed the bribery charge then.
In 2010, Income Tax officials had said they had detected black money in possession of Balakrishnan’s sons-in-law Sreenijan and M J Benny, both advocates, and brother K G Bhaskaran. “If there was black money in our possession, they should have seized it, instead of raising the issue in media,” said Sreenijan. Regarding the IT probe, Sreenijan agreed he had paid Rs 30 lakh tax for 2007-12. “They had slapped a higher amount, but I moved an appeal and it was reduced to Rs 30 lakh.”
Sreenijan began law practice in 2006. “If I get a good client, should I abandon the case on the ground that I am the son-in law of K G Balakrishnan? I have got clients as per my status. I have paid tax for my income,” he said.