Thursday, May 01, 2003
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By Vinay Kumar
Mr. Mukherjee had to resign as judge of the Delhi High Court about a month ago when the scam came to light. Though he cited his wife's ill-health as the reason behind his quitting, it was clear that his links with several of those accused in the scam had been probed by the CBI and a report submitted to the Union Home Ministry. The Chief Justice, V.N. Khare, was kept posted of the details. Mr. Mukherjee, whose confirmation as full judge was only a few days away, tried to withdraw his resignation but that was not allowed.
In the early 1980s, the CBI registered a case of possession of disproportionate assets against a former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. After nearly two decades of legal tussle, the former judge was recently acquitted by a Special Court in Chennai.
Mr. Mukherjee's arrest came after daylong raids by CBI sleuths at his official residence on Zakir Hussain Marg and two premises in South Delhi's Chittaranjan Park colony. According to CBI sources, a case has been broadly registered against him under Sections 13 (2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act, for criminal misconduct by a public servant and criminal conspiracy.
The CBI searched a total of 11 premises, including three premises of Mr. Mukherjee, two of Vinod Khatri, hotelier, four premises of Dharamvir Khattar, middleman, and the residence and office of Anshu Aggrawal, a local advocate practising at the Delhi High Court. Two locker keys were also seized from Mr. Mukherjee's premises, the CBI said. Documents seized during the searches were under examination.
The CBI has also registered cases against four others Subhash Sharma, former DDA vice-chairman and IAS officer of the 1970 batch, Mr. Khattar, Mr. Khatri and Ashok Kapur, a former personal secretary to the DDA chief.
CBI sources said Ms. Aggrawal was questioned in detail on her links with the former High Court judge.
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