Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday posted a petition seeking a CBI probe into what is called the “Ghaziabad judges scam” to July 17 for hearing in an open court.

The case allegedly involves 26 judges — one apex court judge, seven High Court judges, six retired High Court judges, 10 serving district judges and two retired district judges.

The decision to hear the matter in open court was taken after a brief hearing in the chambers of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.

The Bench included Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal.

The court issued notice to the Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati last Monday to render assistance in the matter.

On Tuesday, Mr. Vahanvati along with senior counsel Shanthi Bhushan, Anil Divan and M.N. Krishnamani, appearing for petitioners, discussed the modalities — should the case be probed by the CBI or a committee of judges?

The CJI is understood to have told counsel that there should not be any impression that the court was not inclined to hear the matter in an open court because judicial officers were involved.

The Bench then agreed to hear the petition in an open court.

The petitioners — Nahar Singh Yadav, advocate and Chairman of Adhivakta Kalyan Trust; and the Bar Association of Ghaziabad, through its Chairman Devendra Sharma — said the case related to alleged misappropriation of Rs.23 crore from the Provident Fund contributions of Class-IV employees with the “connivance” of officials and judges.

The Bench will also hear on July 17 a writ petition filed by Transparency International (India) seeking a CBI probe into the scam.

It said that no fetters should be placed in the investigation merely because the persons involved “are judicial officers.”