New Delhi: Supreme Court lawyer Utsav Bains filed a plea in the top court Monday, suggesting there was a “conspiracy to make the Chief Justice of India resign by framing him in a false case of sexual harassment”.
Bains suggested a “judicial inquiry is the need of the hour”.
A former woman employee of the Supreme Court has levelled allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi. The 35-year-old woman had written to 22 judges of the apex court Friday, alleging the CJI had sexually harassed her at his residence last year.
Bains, in his plea, said the complaint was a ruse and part of a larger plot to get the CJI to resign.
He added the “chain of events” and the information gleaned has led Bains to believe “the independence of the Judiciary is today under a very serious attack and that the sexual harassment complaint is an organised conspiracy against the Chief Justice of India to force him to resign and thereby threaten every Judge with dire consequences for being free and fearless in dispensing Justice while pronouncing Judgments against the rich and powerful in the country”.
The plea comes two days after Bains wrote a Facebook post in which he alleged that he was approached by an unidentified man to organise a media conference at the Press Club of India to “frame” the CJI in a sexual harassment case.
Bains had claimed he was asked to represent the woman who has accused Gogoi of sexual harassment. In exchange, Bains claimed, he was offered up to Rs 1.5 crore.
Narrating the sequence of events, Bains submitted that on 4 April, an unknown person named Ajay, who claimed to be a relative of the woman, approached him and told him about the alleged sexual harassment. However, Bains found several loopholes in Ajay’s narrative of the entire incident. Ajay, Bains said, gave “evasive and vague responses” to his questions.
Initially, the discussion was to represent the woman for free. But, Ajay later offered to pay legal fees starting from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore, Bains said in his petition.
Bains said, he refused Ajay’s offer and asked him to leave.
Cash for judgment
Following this meeting, Bains sought to investigate the various claims made by Ajay and was informed by “reliable sources that certain ‘fixers’, who are engaged in illegally managing judgments in exchange for cash, are behind this plot as the Hon’ble CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers”.
In a startling admission, Bains submitted that his informal inquiry revealed that “every source” he met “had only the knowledge of a conspiracy against the Hon’ble CJI but not the names of the persons involved in hatching and executing the said conspiracy”.
On Friday, a day before the allegations against the CJI became public, “a very reliable person, strictly on the condition of anonymity and in good faith” told Bains “about a corporate figure” who sought to approach a top court judge “to get a favourable order in a high-profile case”.
However, the attempt was unsuccessful and “then the said corporate figure attempted to get the case transferred” from that court. However, the corporate figure allegedly failed. The corporate honcho then “ganged up with an alleged fixer by the name of Romesh Sharma and his aides” to frame Gogoi “in a false case of sexual harassment to pressurise him to resign”.
Bains’ informers also told him that the gang of fixers would next target another Supreme Court judge, who “will be soon framed in a controversy to force him to resign”. The judge, the petition said, will be targeted as the “corporate figure” had incurred huge losses due to a judgement passed by the judge.
Bains said he was “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 Hon’ble Court should it so direct him.”
The top court lawyer further found out that “Romesh Sharma also ganged up with disgruntled employees and former employees of the Supreme Court”, who actively conspired to frame the CJI in the sexual harassment case.
The petition stated the said fixer Romesh Sharma was running a ‘Cash for Judgement’ racket in cahoots with businessmen and politicians and had exercised considerable influence for years. This racket was ultimately brought to an end when Gogoi took over, Bains said in his plea.
Romesh Sharma – who is allegedly the Delhi Kingpin of the ‘Cash for Judgement Fixers Club’ — has hatched this conspiracy along with other fixers like him, Bains said.
Romesh Sharma wanted Gogoi to resign “as he was facing huge losses worth hundreds of crores since he was unable to get favorable orders for the highest bidder.”
‘Conspiracy of a serious nature’
Bains submitted that the “conspiracy was of a very serious nature and felt it is his duty as an Officer of the Court under the Advocates Act” to inform the CJI.
In his plea, Bains said he tried, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to meet Gogoi at his residence on Friday evening, a day before the harassment allegations became public.
Threat to life
Bains fears that he “might be killed in a planned road accident or poisoned by untraceable poison or killed in a way that the murder will look like a plain accident or be framed in a false case of Rape etcetera to tarnish his image by those who will be hurt by the Deponent for speaking the truth and exposing them”.
In his plea, Bains said he was filing this affidavit in the larger interest of the judiciary and for its independence.