SC Appoints Ex-Judge To Probe ‘Larger Conspiracy’ Against CJI

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed its former judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik to probe whether a conspiracy is afoot against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi.

Justice Patnaik has been tasked to unearth whether the CJI is the target of a larger intrigue hatched by a powerful lobby of fixers, disgruntled apex court employees and corporate figures to compromise the highest judiciary itself.

The enquiry would primarily focus on material and affidavits provided by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains that claimed some former staffers of the court, influential peddlers and corporate entities have ganged up against Chief Justice Gogoi to frame him in a false case.

Justice Patnaik would test Mr. Bains’ claim that he was approached by a person called ‘Ajay’ in early April. He was offered up to Rs. 1.5 crore to file a false case against the CJI. This man, the lawyer said, claimed to be a relative of the former apex court staffer who has levelled sexual harassment allegation against the CJI.

A Special Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra ordered the chiefs of the CBI, the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police to assist Justice Patnaik, who has to complete his investigation and file a report in a sealed cover before the Bench.

Incidentally, Justice Patnaik was in the news after a Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi appointed him on October 26, 2018 to supervise the 14-day CVC inquiry into allegations of graft and misconduct against former CBI Director Alok Verma.

In a passionate outburst of indignation, Justice Mishra said there were rich and powerful people who thought they could bludgeon and blackmail the court into submission, but little did they know that they were playing with fire.

Justice Mishra’s words came at the end of an hour-long hearing into Mr. Bains’ affidavit that said he has proof of a powerful lobby of fixers, some disgruntled employees and corporate figures at work to frame the CJI.

“This country must know the truth. The Supreme Court cannot be run by money power or political power. When somebody tries to clean up the system, he is killed or maligned. This will stop,” Justice Mishra said.

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