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SC judge contradicts former CJI

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, Dec 14 � The controversy over former Union Minister A Raja allegedly trying to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case returned to haunt former CJI Justice K G Balakrishan today with a sitting judge of the Supreme Court H L Gokhale flatly contradicting him, reports PTI.

Justice Balakrishnan, who last week had claimed that the then Madras High Court Chief Justice Gokhale did not not name Raja in his report to him, today found to his embarrassment Justice Gokhale issuing a press statement setting the record straight.

He was also evasive on questions why he did not disclose the fact that Raja�s name figured in Justice Gokhale�s report to him last year on the issue.

Justice Gokhale contradicted the former Chief Justice of India�s claim that he had not not named Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case, in his report based on Justice S Reghupati�s letter to him.

Justice Gokhale said in his statement that in his letter to Justice Balakrishnan last year he had clearly referred to the name of Raja, who was accused of using a lawyer-friend to convey a message that Justice Reghupati should grant bail to an accused in CBI case.

�The former CJI has stated in his press conference that in my letter I did not mention the name of any Union Minister having talked to Justice Reghupathi over phone to influence him.

�With respect to this statement I may point out that Justice Reghupathi�s letter was already with him and in the second paragraph thereof justice Reghupathi had specifically mentioned the name of Raja.

�I had no personal knowledge about the incident and observations in my reply wherein are in conformity with the contents of Justice Reghupathi�s,� Justice Gokhale said.

In the wake of Justice Gokhale�s statement totally contradicting his claim, Justice Balakrishnan was evasive when reporters in Ahmedabad questioned him on the controversy.

Changing his line of argument, Justice Balakrishnan today said Justice Reghupati had not not written any letter to him naming Raja.

�He (Justice Reghupati) had not not written to me as Chief Justice of India. He had written a letter written to the then Madras High Court Chief Justice (Gokhale),� the former CJI said.

�You must understand I had said that Justice Reghupati has not not written to me as Chief Justice of India. He has not written any letter to me. I was only saying (last week) it is not a letter written to me. Chief Justice Gokhale is a good judge. He has sent a correct report,� Justice Balakrishnan said.

Last week, Justice Balakrishnan had told a press conference that �When this incident was reported in the media, I sought for a report from the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court Justice Gokhale and he sent me a report wherein nothing was mentioned about any Union Minister having made a telephonic talk with Justice Reghupathi to influence him.�

Reacting to Justice Gokhale�s statement, Justice Reghupati thanked him saying �everything has become true. Absolutely correct. Majesty of law will prevail and truth will prevail.�

Asked why he did not not take action on the issue when he was a judge, Justice Reghupati said as a judge he was bound to maintain dignity and decorum of the position.

�We are not expected to go to the media. Even at that time I kept quiet,� he told reporters adding he had put everything in his letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

When asked for details, he said it was part of the records and it was for media to get the letters from authorities concerned.

�Everything has become true. Absolutely correct. Majesty of law and truth will prevail,� he said in reply to questions.

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