In-house probe into money scam lopsided, says Justice Nirmal Yadav
"Panel assumes it was solely asked to enquire into allegation against me"
"Telephone records also established the presence of a High Court judge"
NEW DELHI: Justice Nirmal Yadav of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, indicted by a three-member in-house committee that probed allegations that she received Rs.15 lakh, has denied her involvement in the scam and sought the documents relied on by the panel to give a further reply.
Responding to the notice sent to her by the Chief Justice of India, Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Ms. Justice Yadav said: "I have been made a scapegoat merely because my first name is similar to the judge [Justice Nirmaljit Kaur] to whom the cash was delivered."
The committee, an internal mechanism evolved by the judiciary, submitted its report to the CJI, who in turn sought Ms. Justice Yadav's response.
In her reply dated January 7, she said: "From the reading of the report without the documents, all I can say is that I am shocked at the lopsided enquiry conducted by the committee. The committee assumes that it was solely asked to enquire [into] the allegation against me whereas I feel that the enquiry ought to have been for determining the truth with regard to the incident of delivery of money at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur."
"The committee itself records that a judge of the Supreme Court and a senior judge of the High Court may have been present in the house [of Ms. Justice Kaur] at the time of delivery of cash," she said, adding that telephone records also established the presence of a High Court judge at the residence of Ms. Justice Kaur and the son of the Supreme Court judge [who too was present] was in constant touch with Sanjeev Bansal [the then Additional Advocate-General of Haryana] who sent the cash.
Ms. Justice Yadav said that in spite of clinching evidence which established the falsity of Ms. Justice Kaur's statement on the absence of these judges at her residence at the time of receipt of cash, the committee considered it unnecessary to go into that question, assuming that the enquiry was solely directed against her.
"Travesty of justice"
"It is a patent case of travesty of justice that the judge from whose custody the cash is recovered should continue to sit on the Bench and I should be made a scapegoat only because a judge of the Supreme Court and a senior judge of the High Court are found to be interfering in the investigation and in creating a wrongful assumption by the committee that the enquiry is required to be conducted only against me" she said, adding, "To establish the falsity of the findings I may kindly be afforded the documents, as in their absence I am unable to make an exhaustive and effective reply."