Cash-for-warrant scam: SC seeks unconditional apology from channel
Express News Service
New Delhi, November 22: Three years after a news channel seeking to expose corruption in the lower judiciary carried out a sting operation, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked for “an unconditional apology” from the channel and the concerned reporter as it found the explanation given by them unconvincing.“We are not satisfied with your affidavit,” remarked a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan which further questioned the credentials of the reporter in question. “You have given bribe to lawyers, this is not a bonafide act,” the Court said.
In 2004, the TV channel — Zee News — through their reporter Vijay Shekhar, carried out a sting operation which showed how fake bailable warrants could be procured against any person in consideration of hefty amount paid to the court. The sting operation had shown four such bailable warrants being procured from a local court in Gujarat in the name of the then President A P J Abdul Kalam, the then Chief Justice of India Justice V N Khare, a Supreme Court Judge Justice B P Singh and a senior advocate.
The “expose” sought to bring to light how fake warrants are easily managed by giving bribes. The Court, which refused to grant another date for the matter as senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for the channel was not available, went on to say: “You have committed a serious offence. You must tender an unconditional apology.” The Bench, also comprising Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal remarked: “Everyone in the country feels that any case can be filed by anyone.”
The matter will now be taken up after four weeks.
Earlier too, in the previous hearing on July 26, the CJI had strongly observed that the expose caused a disrepute to the image of judiciary. The court had issued notices to the reporter and the channel to be served through CBI. It had sought to know why action should not be taken against the channel and the reporter. “We are strongly of the view that the person should be prosecuted,” the bench had noted.