Conspiracy to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi needs further probe: Justice AK Patnaik Committee

Conspiracy to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi needs further probe: Justice AK Patnaik Committee

In a significant development, the Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Patnaik has reportedly concluded that the alleged conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment complaint brought against him requires further inquiry.

The Telegraph reports that Justice Patnaik has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the Delhi Police to probe the alleged role of a corporate-underworld nexus in the apparent attempt to frame CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

Serious allegations in this regard were made by Advocate Utsav Bains shortly after news broke out that a former Supreme Court woman staffer had written to Supreme Court judges claiming that she had been sexually harassed by CJI Gogoi in October 2018.

After he put up a public Facebook post decrying the woman’s allegations as part of a larger conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi, Bains was summoned by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta.

Bains also filed an affidavit claiming that he had been offered Rs 1.5 crore by a middleman to hold a press conference to publicise the woman staffer’s allegations of sexual harassment and frame CJI Gogoi, even before news of her allegations was published.

He later submitted material purportedly backing up his claims in sealed cover to the Bench. Taking serious note of the material so submitted, the Court summoned investigative authorities for a closed-chamber meeting the same day. Thereafter, it proceeded to constitute an inquiry committee headed by Justice Patnaik to look into the conspiracy angle.

In the meanwhile, an in-house panel of Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra, and Indira Banerjee concluded that there was no substance in the sexual harassment allegations made against CJI Gogoi.

It is now reported that the Justice Patnaik Committee has found that certain allegations made by Bains cannot be brushed aside and require “further probe”. The Committee is expected to submit its report within the first two weeks of July.

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