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Attorney General KK Venugopal has filed a contempt of court petition in Supreme Court against advocate Prashant Bhushan for his tweets in the case challenging appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as interim Director of CBI.
One of the grounds on which the challenge to the appointment of Rao was made was that it was done without the consent of the High-Powered Committee comprising Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition.
However, when the case was heard on February 1 last week, Attorney general KK Venugopal had submitted that the appointment of Rao was indeed approved by the High-powered committee.
After the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan who was appearing for the petitioner in the matter tweeted that he spoke to Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge who denied any discussion having taken place in the High-powered committee regarding appointment of Rao. Thus, the government appeared to have misled the court, Bhushan stated in his tweet.
In his petition, AG KK Venugopal has extracted the minutes of the meeting of High-Powered Committee containing the signature of Mallikarjun Kharge.
The relevant portion of the meeting relied upon by the AG reads as follows:
“The Central government may post a suitable officer to look after the duties of Director, CBI till the appointment of a new Director CBI.”
Since, the minutes are signed by all three members, all the three were aware of the decision taken at meeting. Hence, the confirmation/ statement attributed to Kharge by Bhushan cannot have been made by Kharge for the simple reason that Kharge himself signed the minutes of the meeting, contends Venugopal.
According to the petition, Bhushan without applying to the court for the minutes of the meeting chose to hurl vindictive allegations against the Attorney General for India and the Government of India and cast aspersions on the integrity of the AG.
“This is not only reckless but also shows malice and dishonesty. It is evident an attempt to generate publicity through the press and social media”, the petition states.
The acts of the respondent to influence the outcome of pending proceedings will severely impact the administration of justice, the petition submits praying that contempt of court be initiated against Bhushan.
Read the petition below.