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Rediff.com  » News » DDA Land Scam: Delhi HC ex-judge
remanded to CBI custody till May 7

DDA Land Scam: Delhi HC ex-judge
remanded to CBI custody till May 7

May 01, 2003 17:28 IST

Tears rolled down the eyes of Shameet Mukherjee, a former judge in the Delhi High Court, when Additional Sessions Judge V K Jain remanded him to Central Bureau of Investigation custody till May 7 for interrogation.

The CBI alleges that Mukherjee, who it arrested on Wednesday, had received illegal gratification in return for favourable judgments in some cases related to the Delhi Development Authority.

Wearing a sky blue shirt, a matching tie and black coat, Mukherjee remained calm throughout the hearing and patiently heard arguments by his lawyers led by R K Anand and Dinesh Mathur. 

Anand argued that Mukherjee is protected by the Protection of Judges Act 1985 under which no sitting or former judge could be prosecuted for any civil or criminal matter he had handled during his tenure.

The court did not agree saying the protection given to judges applies only in case of pressure from the people whose cases are pending before them.

The government has the powers to proceed against judges found to be indulging in acts of corruption, ASJ Jain said.

The CBI produced a transcript of a conversation between Mukherjee and Dharamvir Khattar, prime accused in the Delhi Development Land Scam, in which the former had reminded the latter about installing a two-tonne air conditioner in his house as promised by Vinod Khatri, a principal beneficiary of one of the judgments in the Azad Singh vs DDA case.

The CBI sought 14 days remand pleading that they had to cross check Mukherjee's handwriting with the notings on some of the drafts of judgments it had recovered during the investigation.

"We have seized some judicial files from one of the accused Ashok Kapur, former special assistant to the DDA vice-chairman, and from Dharam Vir Khattar's house," the public prosecutor claimed.

The CBI said that Khattar was in regular touch with Mukherjee and he boasted to Vinod Khatri, a hotel owner, about being able to read out the final judgment in the Azad Singh vs DDA case before it was to be pronounced on February 20 in the Delhi high court. 

Khattar even offered to get a particular line changed if Khatri did not like it.

ASJ Jain is to hear the defence counsel on Friday about allowing legal counsel to be present during Mukherjee's interrogation.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi