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Advocate Prashant Bhushan has written a letter to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asking him to abstain from exercising his power to sanction registration of FIR against Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Narayan Shukla and to delegate the same to other seniormost judges of the Supreme Court.
This request has been made in connection with allegations of bribery for passing favorable orders in the Prasad Medical College case.
Bhushan says in his letter that a Preliminary Enquiry report (PE) was already registered by the CBI against Justice Shukla in September 2017 and this PE records specific details relating to meetings Justice Shukla had with middlemen, allegedly for the exchange of the illegal gratification.
It is claimed by Bhushan, in his letter, that the statements in the PE against Justice Shukla are based on the evidence that was collected by the CBI while investigating the same case against college officials and middlemen and one retired Judge of the Orissa High Court.
It is suggested in the letter that a larger conspiracy was purportedly at play which involved Justice (retd.) IM Quddusi, his associates, middlemen, other unnamed public officials and members of the Judiciary.
Bhushan cites the series of events as recorded in the PE which highlights that the date of alleged receipt of illegal gratification to the tune of Rs. 1 crore by Justice Shukla and the date of order passed by him in favour of Prasad Medical Trust, was the same.
Since the allegations of corruption made are against a sitting Judge, an investigation and registration of an FIR against the said judge would require a prior permission from the Chief Justice of India or any other Judge of the Supreme Court. This precedent, as laid down by a Constitution Bench in the case K Veeraswami vs UOI, is the reason behind Bhushan writing to the CJI Misra seeking this permission.
He states in his letter that this is not the first time permission to investigate bribery allegations against Justice Shukla was sought. CBI had approached Misra J. earlier, presenting all the evidence in their possession to indict Justice Shukla in this case. However, CJI Misra had declined to allow this investigation.
“The serious allegations of corruption and gross misconduct by Justice Narayan Shukla cast a shadow on the independence and integrity of the judiciary. It is imperative therefore that these allegations as detailed above and the evidence in possession of the CBI, are credibly and thoroughly investigated (sic)”, reads Bhushan’s letter.
Bhushan then states that since the Prasad Medical Trust bribery case was one of the charges made against CJI Misra himself for moving the Impeachment motion against him in the Rajya Sabha, and considering the fact that permission to CBI was denied by CJI Misra earlier, it might not be appropriate for him to deal with this request.
He has, therefore, asked CJI Misra not to deal with the request for sanction to register an FIR and instead asked him to delegate the said function to other senior judges of the Court.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to other members of the Supreme Court Collegium, that is, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri.
Read the letter below: