The Quint Impact: Kalikho Pul’s Complete Suicide Note Made Public
A non-profit organisation, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), this morning made public the full and unexcised version of Arunachal Pradesh’s late chief minister Kalikho Pul’s explosive suicide note that reveals shocking details of bribes paid to and sought by serving and retired high judicial functionaries.
The NGO’s revelation follows The Quint’s two stories in as many parts, headlined ‘Late CM Kalikho Pul Blames Corrupt Law Officers in Suicide Note’ and ‘Late CM Pul: Two Former Topmost Legal Heads Took Rs 64 Cr Bribes’, published between 15 and 16 February.
The Quint chose not to make public the names of the top law officials for legal reasons.
The Quint undertook investigations for the story and obtained Pul’s 60-page suicide note independently. The two stories were based on explosive revelations made by Pul before he took his life on 8 August 2016, eight months after the imposition of President’s Rule, a matter that was adjudicated in the Supreme Court.
Pul was dissatisfied with the Supreme Court judgement but there were other reasons – pressure of having to pay bribes to top law officials of the land and demand for tainted cash by other high and mighty from the legal fraternity.
The Quint’s stories elicited broad reactions from India’s legal community, including a number of former Supreme Court and high court judges, and several senior apex court advocates, many of whom pleaded anonymity while speaking with this reporter.
They were unanimous in their views that following publication of The Quint’s stories, which were entirely factual, with every input verified and cross-verified, the Narendra Modi government must take every step to order a thorough and broad-based investigation into the allegations made by Pul.
To the person, the seasoned lawyers and former judges were of the opinion that Pul’s suicide note alone could be the basis for a deep but quick probe, following which every effort must be made to renew efforts to bring the higher judiciary and its judges under some form of accountability and probity.
Pul’s suicide note has raised disturbing questions about probity involving men and women in the highest echelons of India’s legal fraternity. The government has in its possession a legislative framework for making the higher judiciary accountable.
Additionally, the government should also resurrect another proposed legislation that aims to change the mode of punishment for errant judges and thereby usher in acceptable standards in the judiciary.