SC collegium recalls judge's nomination to HC after allegation of corruption in awarding bail to Gayatri Prajapati: Report
The controversy involving bail to former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati in April has cost a Lucknow district judge his seat at the Allahabad High Court after his appointment was recalled by the Supreme Court collegium just before it was to be forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent, a media report said today.
According to a report in the Times of India, the intervention took place after the chief justice of the Allahabad HC, Dilip B Bhosale, acted on an Intelligence Bureau (IB) inquiry report that the Lucknow district judge in question and his associates had allegedly received large bribes to grant bail to Prajapati in a rape case.
The SC collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar, recalled the recommendation just before it was to be forwarded by the Centre to President for his assent last week.
Prajapati, considered close to Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, was arrested on March 15 after being on the run for more than a month following an SC-ordered registration of an FIR against him in a rape case. The alleged rape of the woman and molestation of her minor daughter had attracted a lot of media attention in the run up to the Assembly election in February-March.
The former minister and two of his alleged accomplices were granted bail by a POCSO court on April 25. Special judge of a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court Om Prakash Mishra, who granted bail to Prajapati was later suspended by Allahabad HC administration for giving him the relief.
After Justice Bhosale received the IB report, he ordered further inquiry into the matter as it involved a judge who had been recommended by the SC collegium. The probe by the IB revealed the involvement of POCSO judge, the district judge of Lucknow court and three advocates.
All the five - two judges and three advocates who were the members of the Lucknow bar - acted in concert and conspired to ensure granting of bail to Prajapati, according to the IB report cited by the newspaper.
Bhosale asked IB to re-verify the allegations as the district judge in question was already cleared by the SC collegium for elevation as an HC judge.
After a second check, the IB told Bhosale that the "information given to him was accurate and actionable" and there was no doubt on the involvement of the district judge in the transaction of "business".
Prajapati, a minister in the previous Akhilesh Yadav government lost the recent Assembly election from Amethi constituency.
A Chitrakoot-based woman corporator had alleged that Prajapati and his aides had raped her and attempted to molest her minor daughter in 2014.
Prajapati had gone missing after the election and an FIR was lodged against him on February 27. He was arrested from Ashiyana area of Lucknow on March 15.
His bail by the POSCO court was stayed by the Allahabad HC and he continues to be behind bars.
The Lucknow Police last week filed a chargesheet against Prajapati and six others in the case.