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CBI searches Allahabad High Court judge’s premises

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi. File

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Pertaining to FIR in case of admissions to private medical college.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday searched the premises of Allahabad High Court Judge S.N. Shukla and others in Delhi, Lucknow and Meerut in connection with alleged bribery in allowing admissions to a private medical institute.

The searches, which conducted based on court warrants, are linked to a case registered by the agency on Wednesday.

Other accused

Among those named as accused are Justice Shukla, with the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court; I.M. Quddusi, a retired judge of the Orissa High Court, Bhawana Pandey and Prasad Education Trust.

Bhagwan Prasad Yadav, chairman of the Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences, his son Palash and Sudhir Giri of Venketashwara Medical College (Meerut) have also been arraigned.

They have been charged with committing offences under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, read with various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

‘Gross misconduct’

According to the FIR, the CBI had started a preliminary enquiry on September 8, 2017, on a source information about the alleged commission of gross misconduct by Justice Shukla and others.

According to the CBI, the Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences had been debarred by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in May 2017 from admitting students for two years due to sub-standard facilities and non-fulfilment of the required criteria. The same action was taken against 46 other medical colleges.

The accused Trust appealed against the order before the Supreme Court through a writ petition. Subsequently, a conspiracy was allegedly hatched among the accused persons and the petition was withdrawn with the court’s permission.

‘Illegal gratification’

Another petition was filed before a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Lucknow on August 24, 2017. Mr. Quddusi and the institute's chairman met Justice Shukla the next day at his Lucknow residence and “delivered illegal gratification”. As alleged in the FIR, the petition was heard later that day by the Division Bench comprising Justice Shukla and a favourable order passed.

The MCI challenged the order in the Supreme Court. The matter was heard by the then Chief Justice of India and two more judges. The Trust then did not claim any benefit from the High Court order, but requested that its bank guarantee not be encashed, which was allowed.

The institute's chief then tried to get back the illegal gratification from Justice Shukla, through Mr. Quddusi and Ms. Pandey. A part of it was returned, the FIR alleges.

On Friday, searches were conducted on the premises of the accused persons in Delhi, Lucknow and Meerut, which have so far led to the recovery of incriminating documents and investment papers.

In September 2017, in another case, the agency had arrested Mr. Quddusi and five others for allegedly conspiring to get the case of the Lucknow-based institute “settled” in the Supreme Court.

Among those arrested were the institute's chief, his son Palash, Ms. Pandey, alleged middleman Vishwanath Agarwala and “hawala operator” Ramdev Saraswat.

It is learnt that after Mr. Shukla's name came up, the CBI had informed the then Chief Justice of India. He constituted an in-house committee, which found irregularities. Subsequently, the judge's judicial work was withdrawn last year.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:12:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cbi-searches-high-court-judges-premises/article30220478.ece

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