There is “documentary evidence” that could potentially prove that at least two of India's senior-most Supreme Court judges took bribes in crores from Arunachal Pradesh politicians to turn the case related to imposition of President's Rule in the state, according to sources close to late Chief Minister Kalikho Pul.
Speaking exclusively to The Quint in Delhi on Friday, Pul's eldest widow, Dangwimsai Pul, even demanded that the Narendra Modi government “lodge a criminal case” against the four top judges – two serving and two former justices of the highest court in India – who sought and took bribes last year and in the past from Pul. Dangwimsai demanded that the serving judges step down to pave the way for a “free and fair investigation”.
Dangwimsai Pul has filed an application before Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, seeking permission from him to lodge a criminal complaint against the two SC judges named in Kalikho Pul’s 7 August 2016 suicide note for taking bribes in crores from the late Arunachal Pradesh chief minister.
Even after The Quint’s expose and Dangwimsai’s press conference in Delhi on Friday, the Narendra Modi government has chosen to maintain silence on the issue that has ramifications on judicial accountability and independence.
The evidence that sources close to Pul have is in the form of "receipts" signed by the bribe takers who were "agents" acting on behalf of the judges who were closely associated with the President's Rule case that came up before the Supreme Court last year, before Pul took his own life on 8 August 2016.
Signed Receipt As Evidence
The “evidence”, in the form of a handwritten and signed receipt, which is being closely guarded by the Pul camp, reveals that while Rs 60 crore was actually handed over to an “agent”, the remaining Rs 8 crore was appropriated by a former Congress leader from Arunachal Pradesh. This leader has been named by the late chief minister in his 60-page suicide note. A complete and unexcised copy of this note is in the possession of The Quint.
The receipt has a date on it – 15 July 2016 – which was slightly over a month before Pul took his own life by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his Itanagar residence.
A former Arunachal Pradesh government official close to the late CM told The Quint that the agents acting on behalf of “at least three Supreme Court judges on the five-judge Constitutional Bench that decided on the President’s Rule case first demanded Rs 100 crore, before quoting Rs 80 crore and finally settling for Rs 60 crore.”
Also Read: How Good Was Kalikho Pul’s Hindi?
Bargaining Over Bribe Amount
Pul, the official claimed, pleaded with the middleman that he did not have Rs 80 crore. “The deal was struck on the night of 15 July 2016 for Rs 60 crore plus Rs 8 crore for a state Congress leader,” the official disclosed.
Over the past two days, The Quint has published a series of stories on the highly explosive contents of the suicide note, even as Pul’s eldest widow on Friday sought a high-level, independent investigation that “should expose the corrupt practices” in the highest bastion of the country’s legal structure.
Sons of Top SC Judge
Dangwimsai, who distributed copies of the unexcised suicide note to the media at the press conference in Delhi, claimed that she has “the proof, the evidence” which could help any investigating agency to expose the “bribe takers”. In an earlier story, The Quint had revealed that the “younger son” of a senior sitting Supreme Court judge had “contacted” Pul’s associates and demanded Rs 49 crore.
The Quint had also reported the suspected involvement of another son of this top Supreme Court judge in amassing crores, whose source is still being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED had raided his south Delhi residence and recovered huge sums of demonetised currency notes in December last year.
Pul’s suicide note claims that the brother of another senior Supreme Court judge “wanted Rs 37 crore” from Pul. Two retired judges, also identified in the suicide note, had taken Rs 36 crore and Rs 28 crore in two separate cases, including Arunachal Pradesh’s infamous PDS scam case.
“Mujhse July 12 tareekh ki raat 9 baje tak sampark kiya gaya, ki agar mein advance 9 crore rupaye de doon, to faisle (on President’s Rule) ko ek mahine tak tala ja sakta hai aur mere paksh mein faisla dene par baaki 77 crore rupaye dene ki baat kahi,” Pul says of a Congress leader-cum-senior lawyer who was involved in arguing the case of a contender for power in Arunachal Pradesh.
On page 41 of the suicide note, Pul wrote: “Aaj 25 July (2016) tak Justice Xxxxxx ki taraf se Rxx Axxxx Sxxxxx mujhse sampark kar Supreme Court ka faisla badalne ki baat kar rahe hain. Is par kab aur kaise petition dalna hai, iska kaam bhi unhonein khud hi par liya hai. Iske liye unhonein mujhse 31 crore rupaye maange hain.”
On page 43, Pul wrote: “…mein agar koyi Clarification Review Petition ya SLP daayar karun to mein pakka jitoonga, jahaan judjon ka phir se kum se kum 80-90 crore rupaye ka kamayi hogi, wah bhi dono taraf se.”