Chandigarh, August 22: Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Nirmal Yadav who has gone on leave after her name is said to have figured in the statements of the main accused in the case involving the delivery of cash at another High Court Judge’s house, said today that she was a “victim of a vilification campaign.” Speaking to The Indian Express at her Sector 24 residence here today, Justice Yadav said that “some influential persons were trying to shift the focus on her to save the real accused.” Justice Yadav denied that former Haryana Additional Advocate General Sanjeev Bansal had talked to her on phone on August 13 when Bansal’s clerk “mistakenly” delivered a bag containing Rs 15 lakh to the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, another sitting Judge of the High Court.
“Let any agency prove that I talked to Sanjeev Bansal on phone either on that day or any day in the past one month,” Justice Yadav said. “I am ready to face all consequences if this allegation is found true. I have had no dealings with Bansal. I have not received any money from Bansal or any of his associates. I am sure I will get justice.” Justice Yadav said she had explained her position to High Court Chief Justice T S Thakur and had “proceeded on leave.” She said she would not hear any case until her name is cleared.
Sources close to her said that during her meeting with Justice Thakur yesterday evening, in which some other senior judges were also present, Justice Yadav offered to proceed on leave to “maintain the highest traditions of Indian judiciary.” Justice Thakur told The Indian Express that he had not asked Justice Yadav to proceed on leave and that it was her own decision. It is learnt that in her meeting with Justice Thakur, Yadav vehemently denied any role in the entire role. While acknowledging that she and some other members of her family had bought a plot of 11.1 bighas of land (see accompanying story) at village Rihun Pargana near Kumharhatti in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh on August 14, Yadav is learnt to have denied that the money for purchasing the land came from Bansal or Ravinder Singh, the Delhi businessman, who is also named in the case.
“Can’t a judge buy legal property? Let the police or any other investigating agency prove that the money for the deal was provided by Bansal or Singh,” she is learnt to have told the Chief Justice. But she is learnt to have acknowledged, in her meeting with the Chief Justcie, that she knew Ravinder Singh. She is learnt to have said that she came to know him through some other judges.
Meanwhile, highly placed sources in the High Court confirmed that Chief Justice Thakur is awaiting the return of Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan from Brazil to apprise him of the developments in the case. The Chief Justice is learnt to have asked the administrative committee, comprising senior judges, to monitor the case on a daily basis.
The Rs 15-lakh delivery: Story So Far
•August 13: Parkash Ram, an assistant to Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Sanjeev Bansal, delivers a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Kaur calls the police.
•Rajeev Gupta, Bansal’s friend and a property dealer, tells the police that the money reached there by mistake and it was meant for Nirmal Singh, another property dealer. Chandigarh Police decline to hand over the cash. Bansal is questioned
•August 16: A case is registered against Bansal, Parkash Ram and Delhi- based hotelier Ravinder Singh who allegedly organised the money
•Bansal resigns as Addl AG and surrenders on August 19
•August 21: Rajeev Gupta, the property dealer who claimed the money was meant for Nirmal Singh, is arrested. The Inspector General of Police sends a report to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The report says that the money was meant for another judge.
•August 22: Justice Nirmal Yadav proceeds on leave
Caught in controversy is Solan plot that judge, 16 others purchased
CHANDIGARH, SOLAN, August 22: On August 14, according to revenue records, a plot measuring 11.1 bighas in Solan was purchased by Justice Nirmal Yadav and others for Rs 5, 52, 500. Details of the transaction, obtained by The Indian Express, show that the land was purchased by her and 16 others from six persons, all residents of village Rihun Pargana, near Kumharhatti in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
This purchase is said to have figured in the meeting between Justice Yadav and the High Court Chief Justice yesterday. Justice Yadav is said to have told the Chief Justice: “Can’t a judge buy legal property? Let the police or any other investigating agency prove that the money for the deal was provided by (Sanjeev) Bansal or Ravinder Singh.” The purchasers and sellers obtained permission from the Himachal Pradesh Government under Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy Act. Solan Naib Tehsildar N S Chauhan has confirmed on record that that the deal had been registered as per the details we have. The land was sold by residents of village including Baldev; Narinder Kumar; Surinder Kumar; Rajinder Kumar; Bimla Devi and Amar Singh. The sellers have given a General Power of Attorney to Surinder Kumar (one of the partners among the sellers), who executed a sale agreement in favour of the buyers.
Those named as purchasers (partners) in the land deal include Suruchi, a resident of House no. 3, Sector 14, Gurgaon; Trisha Chaudhary; Ram Niwas; Rajender Yadav; Chiranjeev; Latika; Deepak; Sunita; Vivek; Capt. NT Puri; Devinder Singh; Shakuntla; Kuldip Singh Yadav; Ajay Yadav; Sushank Puri; Mohit (all residents of house no. 1111, Sector 11, Panchkula) and Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Nirmal Yadav.
Three booked in judge bribery case
Haryana Addl Advocate General among booked Chandigarh, August 16: Three persons, including Additional Advocate General of Haryana Sanjeev Bansal, were on Saturday booked for an attempt to bribe a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge. The other two are Bansal’s munshi Parkash, who had carried Rs 15 lakh to the residence of High Court judge Nirmaljit Kaur on Wednesday night, and Ravinder Singh, a Delhi-based businessman who has a hotel in Karol Bagh. The munshi was taken into custody while a police party has been despatched to Delhi to nab Singh. Assistant Superintendent of Police Madhur Verma said the amount was supposed to be handed over to some other public servant but was mistakenly delivered at Kaur’s house. An FIR was lodged after Kaur complained to the police. She also reported the matter to the Chief Justice. Police said Singh had allegedly paid Bansal a huge amount to get settled a criminal case pending in the High Court. The case is due to come up for hearing on Wednesday.
Earlier, Singh had claimed the amount was pertaining to a property deal he had struck with a resident of Panchkula. The money was supposed to be delivered to one Nirmal Singh and was mistakenly delivered at the judge’s house. Verma, however, said the preliminary investigation had ruled out the possibility of the amount being related to any property deal. “Bansal failed to give a detailed account of the cash. He produced some papers pertaining to some property in Panchkula but that did not carry any weight. Our investigations caught him on the wrong foot and, therefore, we booked him along with two others under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy,” he added. Bansal has been handling several high-profile cases. He is one of the dozen-odd Additional Advocate Generals appointed by the Haryana Government about two years ago.