The Karnataka High Court on Thursday took exception to the statement of Karnataka IAS Officers’ Association “expressing solidarity” with retired IAS officer Shamim Banu who has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with an illegal mining case.
“Is it justified on the part of the association to express solidarity with an accused officer when the criminal case and the accused officer’s bail application are pending before court?” Justice N. Ananda orally observed during the hearing of a bail petition filed by another retired IAS officer N. Vishwanathan who was also arrested earlier in connection with the same case.
Meanwhile, senior counsel Ashok Haranahalli, who represents Mr. Vishwanathan, orally submitted that though his client has been in jail for the past three months, no such solidarity has been expressed by the association.
The court also orally expressed dissatisfaction over the conduct of advocates in participating in discussions on criminal cases that are sub judice. “If lawyers are going to decide the case on television, why should courts be there?” Mr. Ananda asked.
The court then reserved its verdict on the bail petitions filed by Mr. Vishwanathan and Ramakant Y. Hullar, a police inspector.
While Mr. Vishwanathan is accused of overlooking reports against Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS) on encroachment of iron ore lease area owned by NMDC Ltd., Mr. Hullar is alleged to have played a key role in delaying filing an FIR against DMS and altering NMDC’s complaint.