The Supreme Court will resume on Thursday its hearing on an advocate’s claim of a larger conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on allegations of sexual harassment.
A three-judge special bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman and Deepak Gupta asked advocate Utsav Singh Bains to file another affidavit by Thursday morning after he claimed of having more incriminating evidence about larger conspiracy against CJI.
The top court said that it will go to the root of alleged conspiracy and try to find out truth about the claims made by the advocate. “The institution will not survive if fixers work and try to manipulate the judiciary,” it said.
The bench also clarified that there is no connection in the hearing of Bains' claims of larger conspiracy and the in-house inquiry ordered into the sexual harassment allegations against CJI.
Earlier in the day, the apex court had directed chiefs of the CBI, IB and Delhi Police to appear and meet in chambers the three judges hearing the lawyers’ claim.
The entire episode is "very disturbing" as it concerns the independence of the judiciary in the country, a three-judge special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said.
The bench – constituted to hear the matter related to allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI after receiving the sworn affidavit of advocate Utsav Singh Bains in this regard – turned down a fervent request of Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to order a court-monitored SIT probe into the matter, saying the court was not venturing into any enquiry at this moment.
At the outset advocate Utsav Singh Bains placed before the bench material to substantiate his claims. The bench after perusing the material, placed by him in a sealed cover, said "very disturbing" facts have emerged in the matter.
'Conspiracy' claimed by the lawyer
Bains had filed an affidavit following the unprecedented hearing on Saturday during which Justice Gogoi had said that some "bigger force" was behind the controversy as they wanted to "deactivate" the CJI's office and he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.
The hearing on April 20 in the case, titled as a matter of "great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary", was held after stories were published on some news portals about the sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former employee of the apex court against the CJI.
In his affidavit, Bains has claimed that he was offered Rs 1.5 crore by one Ajay to represent the former apex court woman employee and arrange a press conference against the CJI at the Press Club of India here.
In paragraph 17 of his affidavit, Bains has said: "On April 19, 2019, a very reliable person, strictly on the condition of anonymity and in good faith, informed the deponent (Bains) about a corporate figure who tried to approach a Supreme Court judge to get a favourable order in a high-profile case listed before this court but was unsuccessful.
"And then the said corporate figure attempted to get the case transferred from the court of that Supreme Court judge but did not succeed and thus ganged up with an alleged fixer...And his aides to frame the Chief Justice of India in a false case of sexual harassment to pressurize him to resign."
Similarly, in paragraph 20 of his affidavit, the lawyer has said he "is privy to certain events involving the said corporate figure and will submit in a sealed cover the events and list of the involved persons to this court should it so direct him".
However, he has not revealed his source of information in the affidavit.
Bains has said he was informed that after "targeting" the CJI, the Supreme Court judge will be the "next target of this gang of fixers and the above mentioned corporate figure", as the corporate figure incurred huge losses due to the verdict passed by the apex court judge.
In the affidavit, he has referred to the alleged links of these purported "fixers" with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"The deponent (Bains) was informed by reliable sources that certain 'Fixers', who claim to be engaged in illegally managing judgements in exchange for cash are behind this plot as the CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers," the affidavit has claimed.
It further claimed, "But when the said Ajay further narrated the entire sequence of events and facts of the case, the deponent was not convinced and found several loopholes in the said Ajay's version of events."