Bribery case: Suspended judge seeks to know status of probe

A suspended senior civil judge, who is an accused along with her lawyer husband in a bribery case, has moved a special court seeking to know the status of the probe against her.

Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal has sought the response of the CBI on the plea filed by Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal, who was a senior civil judge at the Tis Hazari Courts.

The accused has asked for a direction to change the investigating officer (IO) of the case alleging that the IO was “bias” and “pre-determined” to file a charge sheet against her.

“An IO is supposed to be fair/neutral while conducting an investigation but in this case, the IO seems to be completely biased… Hence immediate intervention is required to change the IO in the case,” the plea has said.

She has said since the lodging of the FIR, she was kept under dark about the progress of the probe.

According to CBI, the judge and her husband Alok Lakhanpal were arrested while allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs four lakh from advocate Vishal Mehan, who was appointed as local commissioner (LC) in a case adjudicated by her for conducting an inspection of a disputed property and submitting his report, at her Gulabi Bagh residence here.

They were arrested by the CBI on September 28, 2016. The judge was suspended after her arrest. They were later granted bail.

The CBI had claimed that during searches at the judge’s residence, Rs 94 lakhs in cash were seized along with two locker keys and other material.

In her plea, she has claimed that she was suffering from mental agony since registration of the “false and frivolous” FIR and alleged that the IO has not complied with provisions of the CrPC and the CBI manual.

It claimed she has been falsely implicated in the case by the complainant to prevent her from proceeding in a matter which was pending before the court presided by her.

“As per the guidelines of the CBI manual, it is incumbent upon the agency to verify the credentials of the complainant before proceeding. However, it is apparent that till date nothing has been done by the CBI in this regard,” it said.

The CBI had earlier said, “The advocate (appointed as LC) allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs two lakh for himself as well as Rs 20 lakh for the said senior civil judge for deciding the matter in favour of the complainant.”

It had said its teams laid a trap at the designated place where the bribe was to be allegedly paid by Mehan.

As the bribe was being allegedly paid, CBI teams swung into action and nabbed Mehan while he was “receiving” Rs five lakh purportedly on behalf of Lakhanpal, it had claimed.

The team then took the accused advocate to the residence of the judge where he allegedly handed over Rs five lakh to Lakhanpal while she gave Rs one lakh to the lawyer as his cut, it said, adding that the alleged bribe amount was also recovered by the CBI

Source: PTI

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