Press note on petitions filed in the Supreme Court relating to the CBI FIR on allegations of bribery and influencing judges of the High Court and Supreme Court
9th November 2011
On 19th September 2017, the CBI registered an FIR to the effect that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by several people including one retired Judge of the Orissa High Court, Justice I. M. Quddusi and officers of the Prasad Education Trust, to bribe and influence judges of the High Court and Supreme Court and secure favourable orders in the cases of this education trust pertaining to a recognition of a medical college run by them, whose recognition had been denied by the MCI citing many deficiencies. The FIR states that a middle man named Biswanath Agarwala from Orissa, was engaged with the purpose of influencing the Judges. Immediately After registration of the FIR raids were conducted and reports suggest that about 2 crores in cash was recovered from the conspirators and some of them were arrested including retd. Justice Qudussi. After that these persons secured bail and no effort was made by the CBI to challenge their bail and nothing is known about the progress of the investigation.
It is in these circumstances that Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), filed a writ petition in this matter, seeking an independent, deep and thorough court monitored investigation in this case, by a SIT headed by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The reason for such an independent SIT for this investigation is because this matter involves direct allegations of corruption at the highest levels of the judiciary and therefore any investigation by an agency like the CBI controlled by the government, could compromise the independence of the judiciary.
After the writ petition was numbered, this case was mentioned for urgent listing before court number 2 yesterday (since this is the court where mentionings for urgent listing were being taken up and also because it would not be appropriate for the Chief Justice to deal with this matter in his judicial and administrative capacity in view of the fact that he had dealt with the case of Prasad Education Trust throughout on the judicial side). On mentioning J. Chelameswar’s bench ordered it to be listed before him on Friday, 10th November. However during lunch the petitioners counsel was informed by the Registry that in the light of an order by the Chief Justice this case is assigned to another bench and therefore would be coming up on Friday not before Court 2 but before the other bench.
Today, another petition on this matter was filed by Ms. Kamini Jaiswal which was mentioned and ordered to be taken up for hearing before Court no. 2. The bench of Justice Chelameswar and Justice Nazeer have passed an order directing that in view of the importance and sensitivity of the matter, this matter to be listed for hearing on Monday, 13th November, before a bench of the 5 senior most judges of the Supreme Court. The Court has also ordered the material collected by the CBI be deposited before the registrar of the Supreme Court in a sealed cover and placed before a Constitution Bench on Monday when the matter comes up for hearing.