The CBI on Thursday arrested senior civil judge Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal on bribery charges. She was remanded in 14-day judicial custody and will be produced before the court on 13th October.
A CBI team caught the senior civil judge of the Tis Hazari Court, Delhi, while allegedly accepting ₹4 lakh from an advocate who was appointed as local commissioner by her in a case she was adjudicating. The amount, according to the investigating agency, was the first instalment of the total demand of ₹20 lakh. The CBI recovered ₹94 lakh from her residence.
It moved a separate application seeking three-day police custody for two other accused in the case - Rachna Tiwari’s husband Alok Lakhanpal and Vishal Mehan.
Special judge Sanjeev Aggarwal granted two-day police custody to the duo. They will be presented before the court on 1st October.
Citing the recovery of such a huge amount, the investigating agency expressed the requirement of custodial interrogation of the accused. The judge observed that the ‘source of the huge recovery of ₹94 lakh is yet to be established and that the investigations are at a very nascent stage. Therefore, fair investigations and interest of justice requires that two-day police custody remand each be granted to the investigating agency.’
The CBI also contended that the investigations were at a very crucial stage and the ramifications of the conspiracy between the three accused were yet to be established.
The CBI pleaded that at this initial stage of inquiry, it was feared that Rachna Tiwari may attempt to influence the witness and tamper with the evidence and, hence, judicial custody was in best interest of justice.
The court also permitted the defence counsel of the persons sent in police custody to be present during the interrogations while instructing them to not interfere in the proceedings and stated counsel will be allowed to be present between 10 am to 11 am every day during the interrogation of the above accused while in custody.
Read the order here.