Bihar shelter home rape cases: SC holds CBI's Nageswara Rao guilty of contempt, asks him to sit in corner till rising of court
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to accept Rao's apology and said he shifted out A K Sharma from the Muzaffarnagar shelter home probe in violation of two orders by the apex court
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held the ex-interim chief of the CBI M Nageswara Rao and CBI’s Additional Legal Advisor S Bhasu Ram, in-charge director of prosecution, guilty of contempt of court over the transfer of an officer probing the Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse cases. The apex court slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on each and sentenced them to sit in a corner till the rising of the court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi refused to accept Rao's unconditional apology and said he shifted out A K Sharma from the Muzaffarpur shelter home probe in violation of two orders by the apex court.
Attorney General K K Venugopal appearing for Rao and CBI made several attempts to show that it was not wilful disobedience and that both Rao and legal advisor tendered an unconditional apology, saying, “To err is human and to forgive is divine.”
But the bench refused to accept AG's submission and stated, "File notings showed that Rao had knowledge of the court’s earlier orders restraining transfer of officer associated with the case, so why he did not seek court’s leave before approving relieving of the officer concerned?"
"I have not invoked contempt powers and punished anyone in the last 20 years. But this is brazen," CJI observed.
AG then submitted that action against him will destroy his career record.
On this, CJI said, "Even if we accept his apology, his career record will remain blemished as he has admitted committing contempt."
Rao submitted his affidavit in pursuant to a show cause notice by the top court and said he realises that he should not have issued the order of relieving investigating officer AK Sharma without the court’s permission.
“I sincerely realise my mistake, and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology specifically, I state that I have willfully not violated the orders of this Hon’ble court, as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing the orders of this Hon’ble court,” stated Rao’s affidavit, filed after the court order last week.
On February 7, the court had come down heavily on Rao as well as the in-charge of the Director of Prosecution in transferring Sharma despite there being two categorical orders by the apex court, prohibiting the transfer of Sharma without the court’s permission.
But on January 17, CBI joint director Sharma was appointed as the additional director general in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and the records adduced before the bench showed that both Rao, who was then discharging duties as the CBI chief, and in-charge of the director of prosecution Bhasuran S, had opined in favour of relieving Sharma from the Muzaffarpur case.
Sharma was shifted out as part of the overnight mass transfer that followed the public feud between the agency's former chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.