Kerala HC lawyer denies bribery charges; experts call for comprehensive investigation
The Bar Council of Kerala can also suo motu initiate action against Saiby for professional misconduct, they said.
Published: 26th January 2023 06:18 AM | Last Updated: 26th January 2023 06:18 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: The Kochi city police on Wednesday recorded the statement of Kerala High Court lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor who allegedly collected huge sums of money from clients to bribe judges for favourable verdicts. Legal experts and lawyers’ bodies have called for a comprehensive probe into the matter.
TNIE had on Monday published details of the scathing report by the HC vigilance wing that said Saiby collected lakhs from clients taking the names of Justice P V Kunhikrishnan, Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Ziyad Rahman A A. It is learnt that Saiby on Wednesday denied the charges and said the money was collected as his fees.
Meanwhile, the experts said the matter should not be brushed under the carpet. They said the charges against Saiby will come within the purview of IPC Section 420 (cheating) and also attract offence under Section 12 (punishment for abetment of offences) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Bar Council of Kerala can also suo motu initiate action against Saiby for professional misconduct, they said. “Advocates are not free to do anything they want. The bar council is bound to take action against the alleged misconduct by the lawyer,” said senior HC lawyer M R Rajendran Nair.
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HC lawyer Sebastian Paul pointed out that the alleged acts by the lawyer would also attract offence under Section 2 of the Contempt of Court Act as they have the tendency to scandalise the authority of the courts. “Though IPC Section 420 is also applicable, it depends on the statement of the (lawyer’s) clients,” Paul said
Meanwhile, various lawyer’s bodies demanded that Saiby step down as president of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association.
“The allegation is damaging to the credibility of the justice system. The leader of the association, which has been led by many prominent persons, must be beyond doubt,” C M Nazar, the secretary of the HC committee of the All India Lawyers Union, said in a statement.
The state committee of the Indian Association of Lawyers (IAL) demanded an independent, impartial and comprehensive probe into the allegations. It also said it was not desirable for Saiby to continue as the head of the HC advocates association.
“Judges and lawyers are the main driving forces behind an independent and impartial judicial system. The allegations against the lawyer brought shame to the lawyers’ community and cast doubt on the impartiality of the judiciary and credibility of the justice system. Strong and exemplary legal action should be taken in view of the HC vigilance wing’s report,” said a statement from the IAL state general secretary of the Association. Advocate P L Venukumar, the secretary of the Bharatheeya Abhibhashaka Parishad, also termed the allegation against the lawyer as serious and called for a fair and impartial inquiry.
The Kochi city police recorded Saiby’s statement at their camp office near Marine Drive. Statements of his clients, including a film producer, were also recorded. The detailed investigation report is likely to be submitted to the DGP within a few days, said a source.