Former SC judge demands probe into assets of ex-CJI’s son-in-law

Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan, Chief ...
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/KOCHI: Barely weeks after firefighting the controversy over a central minister trying to influence an HC judge, former chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan has come under the spotlight again. Demands have emerged from several quarters for a probe into the assets of Balakrishnan’s son-in-law, P V Sreenijan, an advocate and a leader of the Youth Congress in Kerala.

The move comes in the wake of reports claiming a “baffling increase” in Sreenijan’s assets in recent years.

Former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer demanded that a high-powered panel be deputed to inquire into the charges against Justice Balakrishnan’s family. In a statement, Iyer requested the President to seek Balakrishnan’s resignation from the post of chairman of National Human Rights Commission.

He also demanded a probe to find the truth about Balakrishnan’s statement regarding then Madras High Court chief justice H L Gokhale’s letter that a central minister had tried to influence a judge of that court.

Reiterating the demand, CPM youth wing state president M B Rajesh said a probe was necessary as the needle of suspicion also pointed to the former CJI. “These allegations have the potential to affect the credibility of the judiciary which is why we are demanding a thorough investigation,” Rajesh said.

In an affidavit filed before the state election commission in 2006, Sreenijan, who contested as a candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front had stated that he and his wife possessed only Rs 25,000 in cash. The couple had 23 gold sovereigns and 29.32 cents (a measure of land in Kerala) of land in Thiruvankulam, a Kochi suburb.

However, all that seems to have changed since, as revealed by a TV channel. The report quoting the 2009 income tax papers of the duo says that Sreenijan and his advocate wife K B Soni, had annual income of Rs 25 lakh and Rs 15 lakh, respectively. Soni is the daughter of the former CJI.

The couple also entered into three property deals, which are under a scanner. These involve more than 2.5 acres of riverside land in Sreenijan’s name in Thrissur, 20 cents in the couple’s name in Elamakkara in Ernakulam district and a commercial space in Kochi.

Allegations are that the documented price of these properties was much less than the existing market rates. For instance, the land in Elamakkara in Kochi is shown as purchased at a price of merely Rs 30 lakh while its current price is worth crores of rupees.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala said he had not received any complaint against Sreenijan. However, he had seen the news and would inquire into what has been claimed.

Sreenijan did not respond to repeated calls on his cellphone.

Read more: Former SC judge demands probe into assets of ex-CJI’s son-in-law – The Times of India


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