President’s nod to prosecute Justice Yadav in land scam
IN THE TRIBUNE CHANDIGARH
President Pratibha Patil has given a green signal to the CBI for prosecuting Uttarakhand High Court Justice Nirmal Yadav in connection with a land scam in Solan (Himachal Pradesh) during her tenure in the Punjab and Haryana High Court from November 2004 to February 2010. The land deal relates to a 11.1-bigha plot reportedly owned by Justice Yadav —who will retire on March 4 — her brother and relatives in Solan district. The Presidential sanction has been given on the recommendations of Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia and the Law Ministry, sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed today. Earlier, Justice Yadav had faced charges of corruption following delivery of Rs 15 lakh in cash at the doorstep of another Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 13, 2008. The suitcase containing the cash had been sent to Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, who had lodged a police complaint after receiving the money. It was then alleged that the cash was actually meant for Justice Yadav but was delivered to Justice Kaur becauseof some similarity in their names. The CBI had, however, closed this case for lack of evidence. She was subsequently transferred to Uttarakhand HC on February 11, 2010.
It is not clear whether the CBI would wait for Justice Yadav to demit office on Friday for filing the chargesheet against her. Nevertheless, Justice Yadav has perhaps become the first HC judge to face prosecution while being in office as the Presidential sanction has come before her retirement. The permission from the Rashtrapati Bhavan has come at a time when the judiciary’s image has taken a severe beating in the face of allegations against close relatives of former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, who is now Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and the impeachment proceedings in Parliament for the removal of Sikkim High Chief Justice PD Dinakaran and Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen. Further, six retired judges of Uttar Pradesh have been chargesheeted by the CBI in the Ghaziabad PF scam. Initially, the CBI wanted to prosecute as many as 35 judges, retired or sitting, but the SC granted permission for proceeding against only six of them. Former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan has alleged that many of the former CJIs were corrupt.
CBI awaits sanction for prosecution in 105 cases
The Central Bureau of Investigation is still awaiting prosecution sanction against public servants in nothing less than 105 cases registered nationwide under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. To get the sanction, the premier investigation agency has shot off as many as 290 requests. The accused include customs officers; block development officers; directors of companies; and even IPS and income tax officers. Available information suggests even as the investigating agency got a go-ahead in Justice Nirmal Yadav’s case, at least a dozen requests from Punjab and Chandigarh are pending for sanction of prosecution as on January 31. The requests for prosecution sanction have been made for block development officers Azaib Singh, Baljeet Singh, Jagjeet Singh, Puran Chandra, and Rakesh Pal. It has also been requested for former BDO Piyush Chandra. Besides this, sanction requests are pending for then deputy directors J.P. Singhla and Pradeep Singh Kaleka. All the nine requests have been made in a case registered on June 26, 2003, and the reports were sent to Punjab chief secretary on March 3, 2009. Another request has been made in the case of BSNL general manager Sharwan Kumar Aggarwal. His place of posting has been mentioned as Ludhiana and the case was registered on May 14, 2009. The report was sent on April 30 last.
The department of defence officials include B. Venu, DD Mittal, Devinder Singh Dhanao, Devki Nandan, and Raj Kumar. The case was registered on March 31 last and request was sent on January 20.The sanctioning authority in their case is Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Defence. The information on pending sanctions for prosecution was only recently furnished by the Centre to the Supreme Court.