Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Corruption

Mamata Banerjee on corrupt judges

Mamata Banerjee’s statement that court orders can be bought has evoked various reactions, most of them against her. Her statement was taken in the context of West Bengal Human Rights Commission slapping a fine of 50,000 rupees for the arrest of a professor who had sent her cartoons through e-mail. Her critics said her statement was unacceptable and irresponsible; she was dictatorial, intolerant and does not have a sense of humour.

Mamata Banerjee did not mention WBHRC judgment. Taken in itself her statement is nothing new. The then CJI S. P. Bharucha had said 20% of the judiciary is corrupt. Nobody said his statement was unacceptable and irresponsible. A magistrate had issued four arrest warrants for 10,000 rupees each and the persons to be arrested included President Abdul Kalam and CJI Vishwanath Khare. Prashant Bhushan faces contempt of court case for stating eight of 16 former CJIs were corrupt. Soumitra Sen, a High Court judge, had faced removal by Parliament. He quit after Rajya Sabha voted to remove him. There was demand to prosecute Nirmal Yadav which was granted on the last day of her service.

No critic said Mamata Banerjee was wrong. Her critics know she spoke the truth. Contempt of court provision has been used to punish people, mainly journalists, who exposed judicial corruption. An MLA is immune from prosecution for contempt of court for whatever is said in the Legislative Assembly under Article 194 of the Constitution. Mamata Banerjee as an MLA enjoys immunity. Mamata Banerjee spoke in general terms. She did not mention anyone by name. Some dispute immunity saying the Assembly was not in session but the Article does not say the Assembly should be in session to have immunity.

Someone said there are some rotten eggs in judiciary but you should not condemn all. Even if there is one rotten egg it is one too many and rottenness spreads. Rotten eggs should be removed.

The lawyers who condemn Mamata Banerjee defend all types of criminals. They should introspect. May be they are afraid that Mamata Banerjee knows some incidents and she will go public.

Some argue a chief minister saying something against the judiciary will make people lose faith in the judiciary. Faith is lost when people do not get justice. People lose faith when cases drag on for years. People lose faith when murderers, rapists, molesters, abductors, swindlers and other criminals walk free or get bail easily or spend time in hospitals instead of jails. In Andhra Pradesh one judge faces prosecution for getting six crore rupees to give bail to Janardhana Reddy.

Mamata Banerjee being dictatorial, intolerant and not having a sense of humour is a separate issue. It does not add or subtract anything from the issue of judicial corruption.

Supreme Court judges have resisted the demand to declare their assets. They lost their case in Delhi High Court. Now the case is in Supreme Court. The judges are a party to dispute and they will decide.

Return of Bofors

Bofors returned to news on 25/4/2012. TV channels reported former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom’s interview to Chitra Subramaniam on thehoot.org.

In April 1987 Swedish Radio reported that kickbacks were paid in Bofors deal. After that some newspapers had reported on it. Chitra Subramaniam worked for Indian Express. Sten Lindstrom had leaked many documents to her. Sten Lindstrom revealed himself as the source.

Why did Sten Lindstrom go public now? Perhaps he thinks he will not live long. He reminds me of W. Mark Felt who was informant in Watergate scandal.

Sten Lindstrom said there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi received any bribe but he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing. The evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi was conclusive. Martin Ardbo, Managing Director of Bofors, had written in his notes that at no cost could the identity of Q be revealed because his closeness to R.

I remember reading something different many years back. H said he did not care if Q is hurt. H did not care even if N is hurt. But G must be protected at all costs. Q is Ottavio Quattrocchi. H is Hinduja, one of Hinduja brothers. N is Arun Nehru. R or G is Rajiv Gandhi.

The reports do not mention Win Chadda and Hindujas who received kickbacks. Why Sten Lindstrom did not mention them?

Sten Lindstrom said in early 1990 an investigating team met him and gave him a list of name including that of Amitabh Bachchan. The team did not trust Chitra Subramaniam because she refused to link the Bachchans to Bofors kickbacks. The Indian investigators planted story of Bachchan angle in Dagens Nyhetter. The Bachchans took Dagens Nyhetter to court in UK and won.

In early 1990 Vishwanath Pratap Singh was Prime Minister. Arun Nehru was a minister then. He told no one planted Amitabh Bachchan’s name.

Sten Lindstrom said after the Letter Rogatory was lodged with Switzerland he and public prosecutor Hans Ekblom waited for Indians to contact them but no one did. He saw the extent to which everyone was compromised.

V. P. Singh’s government fell in November 1990. Chandra Shekhar who followed him had Rajiv Gandhi’s support and did not last long. P. V. Narasimha Rao was a Congress member. During his time Madhavsinh Solanki lost his job because he gave a letter given by a lawyer to Swiss court hearing Bofors case. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral headed United Front government supported by Congress. Atal Behari Vajpayee headed NDA government and BJP was the main constituent. CBI filed chargesheet in Bofors case. Ottavio Quattrocchi was out of India. Attempt of extradite him failed. Hindujas went to Delhi High Court and got a favourable judgment. Win Chadda remained safe. In 2004 UPA came to power. Bofors case was closed.

The interview conceals more than it reveals. We do not know why Ottavio Quattrocchi is target and Hindujas and Win Chadda are not targets.

Hemraj murder case

Hemraj and Aarushi were murdered. People refer to the case as Aarushi murder case. Hemraj is forgotten.

The case has seen many twists. After Aarushi was found murdered it was said that Hemraj was missing. He was the suspect. Next day his body was found on the terrace.

Rajesh Talwar was the suspect. A police officer called a press conference and said Rajesh Talwar had found Aarushi and Hemraj in an objectionable position, not a compromising position.

Supporters of Rajesh Talwar cried foul. There was a demand to hand over the case to CBI and it happened. The CBI officer let off Rajesh Talwar. Three servants were arrested. Narco tests were done. Attempts were made to put words in their mouths and frame them. There was no evidence against the three.

Years passed. Another officer came. He came to the conclusion that Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar were murderers but that could not be proved. He filed closure report.

There were four people in the house. Two were murdered. Nobody came from outside. The two who remained were guilty. Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar committed murders or one of them committed murders and another abetted in cover-up. As said by fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

The Talwars were happy that CBI had filed closure report. They pretended they were outraged. They did not know they were suspects.

The court refused to accept closure report and told CBI to pursue the case. The Talwars went on appeals repeatedly and delayed the process. They could hire expensive lawyers. They had friends who appeared on TV channels and defended them.

Nupur Talwar skipped court appearance on 11/4/2012. The special CBI court at Ghaziabad issued a non-bailable warrant against her. CBI went to arrest her. She could not be found at her residence. CBI sent people to different places to find her.

Nupur Talwar appealed in Supreme Court on 12/4/2012 through her lawyer. She did not get bail. She was asked to appear in court. CBI was not prevented from arresting her. She appeared in Supreme Court the next day. The bench comprising Justices B. S. Chauhan and J. S. Shekhar rejected her bail.

What followed was mind boggling. Within minutes of rejection another bench comprising A. K. Patnaik and another judge took up the case of Nupur Talwar. They restrained CBI from arresting Nupur Talwar. They said we have to protect Nupur Talwar. They said the case will go before a bench headed by CJI S. H. Kapadia. CBI said they knew the whereabouts of Nupur Talwar but they had not arrested her.

A. K. Patnaik is a disgrace and a shame. He had no business to take up Nupur Talwar’s petition. Judges like him pervert the system. There will be anarchy. CJI should stop him from functioning. CBI could have gone back to B. S. Chauhan and J. S. Shekhar and they could have said “Who is A. K. Patnaik? Arrest Nupur Talwar right now right here.”

Parliament should start removal procedure against him. Removal is not enough. Law must be changed to hang A. K. Patnaik. He and his associate are like two evil judges in the Book of Daniel. Those two judges framed an innocent woman and sent her to death and Daniel saved her. Here the Supreme Court judges saved a criminal.

On 18/4/2012 in CBI court CBI sought and got extension of non-bailable warrant up to 30/4/2012 and said they will not arrest Nupur Talwar until CJI transfers the case to a bench. A lawyer told the journalists CBI should assume its responsibility and arrest Nupur Talwar. There is no stay on arrest from CBI court, High Court or Supreme Court. CBI is playing a double game. They say they want to arrest Nupur Talwar but do not arrest her.

Sometime back a High Court judge said CBI should be shut down. If CBI knew the whereabouts of Nupur Talwar they should have arrested her. Their search on 11/4/2012 was a farce.

Removal of bad Supreme Court and High Court judges should be an easy process. CBI officers who frame innocent people should be held accountable.

Some chief ministers talk of NCTC being in violation of constitution and federal structure. When Supreme Court or a High Court orders a case to be investigated by CBI it is a violation of constitution and federal structure.

Shame on lawyers who represent and people who defend the Talwars.

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