SC seeks IT dept wealth report of K G Balakrishnan's relatives in chart form

SC seeks IT dept wealth report of K G Balakrishnan

Four months after the Centre gave a clean chit to K G Balakrishnan in a case pertaining to amassing of disproportionate wealth by his kith and kin during his tenure as Chief Justice from January 2007 to May 2010, the Supreme Court today asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to submit a detailed chart detailing the assessment made by the Income Tax department against all of them.

The court also asked the AG to submit all income tax assessment orders till now.

Appearing for the Centre, Rohatgi said he shall submit assessments including those of Justice Balakrishnan’s brother, uncle etc by July 12, the next date of hearing.

“The Attorney General has submitted that he shall filed a detailed report in a chart form for the perusal of the court”, a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said adjourning the matter.

It is to be noted that on November 18, 2015  the centre had submitted to the court that "detailed probe into the complaints that his kith and kin amassed wealth during his tenure as Chief Justice of India from January 2007 to May 2010 yielded nothing".

Nut the SC bench looking into the case, said a further probe might be required."There cannot be a CBI probe afresh as it might create certain dangerous precedents," Rohatgi had said.

The clean chit from the allegations that his relatives held disproportionate assets had come six months after he retired as NHRC chief and a full five years after he superannuated as CJI.

Taking up the case after a gap of one and a half years, the SC bench had on September 15 sought Rohatgi's assistance to hear a petition filed by NGO Common Cause, headed by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking a CBI probe into the alleged amassing of wealth by Balakrishnan's relatives during his tenure in the SC.

The court was also not ready to take Rohatgi's submission that "brother and son-in-law of the former CJI are lawyers and several intricacies of their earnings cannot be gone into" at face value and said if "persons earning Rs 100 buy properties worth Rs 10 lakh, the source of the money should be investigated". "We cannot do that anymore," the AG submitted.

Rohatgi said the PIL to oust Justice Balakrishnan has become infructuous as he has stepped down from the post. "Nothing survives in the petition," the AG said.

"If the relatives can show they have the source..." Justice Misra persisted. The AG  had also referred to how similar allegations were made in the past against another former CJI who recently passed away.

Bhushan had made two primary prayers in the 2014 plea. First, Balakrishnan should be removed as NHRC chief pending investigation and second, for a CBI probe into the irregularities. The first one has become infructuous as the former CJI retired from the NHRC post on May 11, 2015.

The government had, for the first time, filed an investigation status report on May 13, 2012, detailing large payments allegedly made to Balakrishnan's relatives when he was the CJI.