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MPs demand statement from PM on judge influencing issue

Source: PTI
July 31, 2009 13:17 IST
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A group of 180 MPs from both the Houses of Parliament on Friday demanded a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of a Union Minister allegedly trying to influence a Madras High Court Judge in a Central Bureau of Investigation case.

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the MPs -- 85 from Lok Sabha and 95 from Rajya Sabha -- said that he should investigate the matter and make a statement in both Houses of Parliament.

The MPs included those from the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist, All India Anna Dravuda Munnetra Kazhagam and Bharatiya Janata Party.

Justice R Raghupathy of Madras High Court had made a statement in the open court that a Union Minister had telephoned him in a matter concerning a marksheet forgery scam which was investigated by the CBI.

The minister had allegedly recommended that the accused be granted bail. Emerging from the meeting, Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra told mediapersons that the Prime Minister has assured the MPs that he would get back to them after examining the memorandum.

Mitra said the Prime Minister told the delegation that after the Chief Justice of India's calcification that the Union Minister had not spoken to the judge, how can the government interfere in issues relating to the judiciary.

Mitra said agencies like the intelligence bureau are capable of finding out the phone number which a lawyer had reportedly dialed from the chamber of the judge which can help in the investigations.

"According to reports, the judge has subsequently clarified that the minister had not spoken to him directly but that the lawyer appearing in the case on behalf of the accused had come to his chamber and informed him that the Union Minister would like to speak to him and even dialled the number to facilitate the conversation," the single page memorandum read.

The memorandum said, assuming the clarification of the judge to be correct, it is still an attempt to interfere in the judicial process by the said minister.

"In the interests of upholding the principal of independence of the judiciary enshrined in the Constitution, as well as the highest standards of probity in public life, the people of the country do expect you to act in the matter. We request you to give a statement in both Houses on the issue and to take appropriate action in the matter," the memorandum added.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, CPI –M leader Brinda Karat, AIADMK leader M Thambi Durai, CPI's D Raja and Dr Maitren of AIDMK were part of the delegation which met the Prime Minister.

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