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New SC Bench Without CJI Khehar To Hear Sahara-Birla Payoffs Case

LiveLaw News Network
11 Jan 2017 3:36 AM GMT
New SC Bench Without CJI Khehar To Hear Sahara-Birla Payoffs Case
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Going by the Supreme Court cause list of today, a new bench comprising of justice Arun Mishra and justice Amitava Roy will be hearing the sensational Sahara-Birla payoffs case. Chief Justice of India J S Khehar will not be part of the bench.

It is listed as item number 2 in court number 10 for today

The Supreme Court had on December 16 termed as "unfair" the plea of noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan of NGO Common Cause seeking recusal of senior-most judge Justice JS Khehar from hearing a PIL seeking an SIT probe into alleged recovery of documents in Income Tax raids on two business houses, Sahara and Birla, in 2012.

Justice Khehar had that day hinted that he might recuse from the case.

The PIL makes bribery allegations against politicians, including several high profile ones.

The court had earlier questioned Bhushan whether aspersions could be cast against the prime minister without placing sufficient evidence. "You are talking about the highest court of the country. Do you think we can succumb to any pressure?" a bench comprising Justices JS Khehar and Arun Mishra said.

The court was irked when Bhushan, representing NGO Common Cause which has filed PIL, sought recusal of Justice Khehar, whose name had been recommended by outgoing Chief Justice TS Thakur as his successor.

"Though I have no doubt about the integrity, it is my duty, an unpleasant duty, as an officer of the court (to say) that this matter be heard by some other bench on reopening (after winter vacation)," Bhushan said, apparently hinting at the pendency of approval by the executive designating Justice Khehar as the next CJI.

"Why should you say all this? it's very unfair. You appeared twice, thrice before us but you didn't say anything. Today you are saying things" the bench remarked. "If you had any problem you should have pointed out. It is very, very unfair. You are talking about the highest court. You are doubting a Constitutional functionary. Not fair," the bench had said.

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“Fresh Evidence” Placed

After the top court questioned the NGO and Bhushan for coming out with a plea without sufficient material and raising serious allegations against the highest constitutional functionary of the country, Bhushan on January five filed a fresh affidavit .Some e-mails, as annexures are part of the affidavit.

The NGOs additional affidavit said,

  • Raids were conducted by the CBI on the Birla Group and by the Income Tax Department on the Sahara Group,

  • Huge unaccounted amounts of cash was recovered in the raids,

  • Diaries, notebook, hand written papers, computer documents were recovered..

  • Huge unaccounted amounts of cash was recovered in the raids,

  • Diaries, notebook, hand written papers, computer documents were recovered in the raid,...
    The information gathered shows bribery of politicians and civil servants,...

  • All the explanations given by the Group or their officials were rejected by the I-T Department since all transactions were tallying with other records and that no person or group fabricates documents to implicate himself or itself, and

  • There has been no denial by anyone on the authenticity of the material placed before the court..

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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