Written byShalini Ojha
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued summons to Joint Director of CBI, Director of Intelligence Bureau and Chief of Delhi Police after a lawyer claimed that sexual harassment allegations leveled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were part of "larger conspiracy".
Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, and Deepak Gupta considered the affidavit filed by lawyer Utsav Bains, who was also present.
Last week, the top court was rocked by serious allegations which a former staffer leveled on CJI Gogoi. The woman claimed CJI sexually harassed her at his home office in October 2018.
She sent an affidavit to 22 judges detailing the harassment, which CJI Gogoi denied.
The serious allegations started conversations in SC corridors and around the same time Bains said the claims were fabricated.
He said a man, claiming to be the complainant's relative, approached him months ago asking him to frame CJI Gogoi in "false case" and offered Rs. 1.5 crore.
After the allegations surfaced, Bains filed an affidavit in the court which a bench entertained today.
During the hearing, SC recommended that a special investigation team should be set up to probe Bains' allegations. This team would work under SC, the bench suggested.
But Bains didn't seem to like the idea.
"There must be a judicial probe. It points out to a larger conspiracy. We have seen how CBI is used as a tool," he told the bench.
"Sensitive evidence must be collected by judicial officers because the police are under the state. Only judicial probe is requested. I have CCTV footage, which is real evidence. I am submitting this in court. The accused-mastermind is very powerful," the lawyer added.
After hearing Bains' claims, SC ordered that he should be given police protection.
Openly expressing solidarity towards CJI Gogoi, Justice Mishra said, "CJI Gogoi was trying to clean up the system. No CJI has shown the courage to take action against certain elements. He was acting without fear of anyone."
He also said the turn of events was "very disturbing".
Meanwhile, CJI Gogoi said he was accused because there are important cases which he was due to hear.
"I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear... Things have gone too far," CJI Gogoi had said.
Notably, probe panel, also including Justices NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee, will begin proceedings on Friday. The complainant has been issued a notice.
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