The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed retired judge, Justice AK Patnaik, to head the inquiry, which will probe allegations by lawyer Utsav Bains that there was a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment case.
The Supreme Court also asked the CBI Director and the IB chief to co-operate with Justice AK Patnaik, reported news agency ANI. Justice Patnaik had earlier headed the panel to investigate allegations against former CBI Chief Alok Verma.
Today’s development came after Bains filed an affidavit claiming that there was a larger conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi by alleging sexual harassment against him. He said that fixers had offered him Rs 1.5 crore for that purpose.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Misra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta, according to Livelaw website, observed, “”He(Bains) has given an affidavit in Court in a sealed cover. The same is taken on record. It is to be kept in a sealed cover in total confidentiality, as it contains highly sensitive information pertaining to the alleged conspiracy, according to him, to frame Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India into a case of sexual harassment. In that connection, he has stated to have met with certain persons at certain places. He has further mentioned in the affidavit that the disgruntled employees have ganged together in order to frame Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India in the false charge of sexual harassment after their dismissal from their services. He has named in particular, names of Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma and others.”
The top court, however, made it clear that the inquiry headed by Justice AK Patnaik will not affect the in-house enquiry by the panel of Justices Bobde, Ramana and Indira Banerjee regarding the sexual harassment allegations raised by the former Junior Court Staff against the CJI.
Earlier, Justice NV Ramana has recused had recused himself from the in-house inquiry stating that he was a frequent visitor to CJI Gogoi’s house and was his friend.
A former Supreme Court employee had last week alleged that CJI Gogoi sexually harassed her forced her to go through unimaginable ordeal after she refused.