Ranjan Gogoi
K K Venugopal said though the ex-CJI’s statements were strong, they reflected his views on the ills of the judiciary

Possibility of conspiracy against Justice Gogoi can’t be ruled out: SC

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The Supreme Court on Thursday (February 18) said the possibility of conspiracy against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi cannot be ruled out, while closing the suo moto proceedings into the case of sexual harassment against him.

Referring to the letter by the Director of Intelligence Bureau, the bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said conspiracy against the former CJI could be linked to his decisions on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as well as move to streamline the Supreme Court registry.

The decision was taken based on the report of former Justice AK Patnaik, who was investigating if there was a larger conspiracy behind the allegation against Justice Gogoi and if there was an attempt to fix judges.

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“There are strong reasons to believe that some kind of conspiracy might have been undertaken against the then CJI Gogoi,” the bench said, while quoting the report of Justice Patnaik.

It said, in view of the mandate of the order dated April 25, 2019 Justice Patnaik’s report opines that it cannot really inquire whether the decisions of the then CJI on the judicial side had triggered the conspiracy against Gogoi.

The apex court said that the in-house proceedings have already completed the probe into the sexual harassment allegations against then CJI Gogoi and the three-member panel headed by Justice SA Bobde, now the CJI, has already given the report exonerating him.

The bench also comprising justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that the Justice (retd) AK Patnaik panel was not able to get electronic records like WhatsApp messages to probe into the conspiracy and hence no purpose would be served by continuing with the suo motu case.

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On April 25, 2019, the top court had appointed Justice Patnaik to hold an inquiry into the sensational allegations of a lawyer about “larger conspiracy” to frame Justice Gogoi and fixing of benches in the top court.

(With inputs from agencies)

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