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Cash-for-warrant scam: SC issues strictures

February 13, 2004 18:09 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to continue further investigation into 'cash-for-warrant' scam in Ahmedabad and made it clear to the magistrate who issued the warrants against President A P J Abdul Kalam and the Chief Justice of India that he would be 'dealt with in accordance of law'.    

After perusing the CBI probe report, a bench comprising Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice Brijesh Kumar and Justice S H Kapadia said the agency 'would carry out further investigation and apprise the court about it by February 23'.

The court then issued notice to another Ahmedabad-based advocate A K Gadvi asking him to file his reply by February 23 on the alleged role he played in the issuance of warrants.

The Supreme Court is acting on a PIL filed by journalist Vijay Shekhar alleging that on payment of Rs 40,000 arrest warrants were issued against Kalam and the CJ.

The court issued notices to Magistrate M S Brahmabhatt, Ahmedabad Criminal Bar Association president Harish Bhavaniwala and advocates Iqbal Katia and Narendra Chaudhary.

The court took a serious view of the 'sermonical affidavit' filed by Bhavaniwala and contemplated to cross-examine him in the case. "What a cock and bull story he has narrated in the affidavit," the Chief Justice remarked.

But on repeated requests of Bhavaniwala's counsel he agreed to allow the Bar chief to withdraw the affidavit.

When the counsel for the magistrate said his client was the sole person suffering in the case as he had been suspended and requested for his discharge, an angry Chief Justice remarked, "You and others involved in it are of same colour."

"A judge should get more and severe punishment on such type of conduct. Judges would not get any extra protection in such matters. You will be dealt with in accordance with the law. Do not argue for your discharge," he said.

Meanwhile, the apex court asked the Gujarat government to file a status report detailing steps taken in the journalist assault case and warned that it would consider transferring the case to CBI if 'proper progress was not made'.

However, counsel for the Gujarat Bar Association accused the media of foisting false charges like robbery on the advocates and wanted the court to deprecate the conduct of journalists for taking out processions with placards carrying derogatory remarks against advocates.

The Chief Justice wanted to know as to why the advocates first resorted to violence against the journalists and said, "It is a serious matter that journalists were beaten up while doing their professional work. If you beat some one up, it was natural that he would retaliate."

Deprecating violence, Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee said if the media goes overboard, there were means to control it. "Media, lawyers, judges and the courts -- all constitute the backbone of democracy. Let there be no unnecessary confrontations," he added.

The Supreme Court said, "The time has come for the Bar to identify the black sheep sullying the image of the profession and do something to restore its past glory."

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