Supreme Court judges admit to pressure in hawala case
In an unprecedented disclosure in Indian judicial history, the three Supreme Court judges monitoring the Rs 650 million Jain hawala investigation
admitted to being under ''terrible outside pressure'' in the case.
Pressure was being built up to force the individual judges
to withdraw from the case, the judges said on Monday, but made it clear that none
of them would do so. They would continue to deal with the case the
way it should be dealt with.
The admission was made at the very outset of the hearing of the
case by Chief Justice J S Verma on behalf of himself and on behalf
of the two other judges on the bench -- Justice S P Bharucha and
Justice S C Sen.
The Chief Justice stated in the open court even before senior
counsel Anil Divan, amicus curiae in the case, could
speak that it was high time that ''we must tell of outside pressure on us for
quite sometime now to see that we recuse ourselves from the case.
These things are not going to work. None of us will recuse. All
kinds of things are happening, people are trying to reach us first
a person tried to reach me. The same person approach brother S C Sen and he was worried. I asked him to ignore it.''
''The case is with us. We will deal with it the way it should be dealt with,''
Chief Justice Verma said.
The Chief Justice said some people connected with the
courtroom might be involved in these activities, ''Today they had
contacted brother Bharucha. Their game plan would never succeed,''
the chief justice asserted.
The Supreme Court also took a serious view of the criticism in the
media on the hawala proceedings. ''All this has been going
on for quite some time and we have been ignoring it. But it is high time
that we make it clear that we shall continue to monitor the
hawala investigations the way it should be done to ensure fair
The judges also warned officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation that severe action would be taken against them if they continued with their "frequent
uncalled for utterances."
Judges Verma, Bharucha and Sen made the
observation during the hearing of an application by
Divan, challenging the transfer of CBI director Joginder Singh.
''Too many officers of the CBI appear to have been bitten by
the publicity bug. Is it an organisation or a joke? Every one talks
as he likes. One gentleman (CBI Director R C Sharma) says what he
will do tomorrow and another gentleman (Joginder Singh) says he
will make one million dollars on a book still in his mind,'' the
The judges said the manner in which the CBI was functioning would
give rise to doubts about its credibility. ''Individuals in the
organisation are making a mockery of it. Hereafter, anyone found
making remarks outside the court will be dealt with very severely,''
Commenting on CBI Director Sharma's interviews
soon after taking over, the judges observed: ''The successor in the
office has started stating things totally uncalled for. What kind
of credibility will it give to the organisation? We ourselves have
been very careful during the proceedings in the case and names of
individuals were always avoided.''
Coming to Joginder Singh's transfer, the court did not
find anything offensive in it. ''Our primary concern is that those
who are in the investigating team are not disturbed,'' the judges
When Divan insisted that the transfer had been effected
bypassing the court's earlier directions, Chief Justice Verma said
those orders were issued in a peculiar situation during the regime
of CBI director K Vijaya Rama Rao when a person at the helm
of affairs himself (then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao) was
under investigation. That situation did not exist now.
All through the proceedings, when the judges were making critical
observations about the CBI's functioning, the agency's director was present in the court. So were Revenue Secretary N K Singh and Enforcement Director M K Bezbaruah.
''We want only the investigation to be done fairly and honestly.
If you (Anil Divan) feel that Joginder Singh should have been
retained, we are not too sure,'' the judges said.
When Divan insisted that the court must say something on the
transfer, Justice Bharucha observed: ''The
transfer should have come a bit earlier for the way he has been
When Divan pointed out that officers of the Enforcement
Directorate were being shadowed, the Chief Justice said: ''If they
have any problem they can always come to the court and we would do
The court adjourned the hearing to August 19, when Divan
will begin submission on the larger issue in the case -- total
independence for the CBI.
When Attorney General Ashok Desai submitted that the government
itself was contemplating the necessary amendments in the statute
concerned to grant autonomy to the CBI, the chief justice asked, "Why
not total independence?"