A litigant at the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday alleged that his counsel had charged Rs 38 lakh from him, out of which Rs 36 lakh was to be paid to the judges for settling a case in his favour.
Taking a strong note of the matter, division bench comprising Justice Rajive Bhalla and Justice R K Jain of the HC issued show cause notice to advocate Satvinder Singh Sisodia, asking him why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for the alleged act. The bench has also asked Sisodia to make a statement before the registrar (vigilance), if he wishes or file an affidavit on June 1, when the matter comes up for hearing.
The matter surfaced before the high court when Darshan Singh, a resident of Tajalpur village in Patiala district informed the bench that he had engaged Sisodia as his counsel in a case related to dispute of some land in 2009. He alleged that Sisodia charged Rs 38 lakh from him, saying he would arrange the case to be fixed in his favor but did nothing. Visibly surprised, Justice Bhalla immediately recorded the statement of the litigant in writing and got it signed.
The court also asked senior advocate Anupam Gupta to assist it. On the suggestion of bench for registration of case and inquiry by Chandigarh Police, Gupta asserted that to inquire into such matters, strong shoulders are required, which the police of Chandigarh as well as Punjab and Haryana do not have.
“It is almost double the amount than the Rs 15 lakh found at the doorstep (of a judge) and were meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav,” Anupam submitted.
However, when Sisodia was called by the court, he termed the allegations as baseless and cited medical reasons for not appearing in the case. High court bar association president K S Dhaliwal said that they had also received a complaint from the litigants in writing against the advocate but cannot interfere now.
Times Of India