Panel rejects Dinakarans plea to defer proceedings

New Delhi: A three-member panel, which issued a charge sheet against Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court P D Dinakaran for alleged corruption, has declined his plea to defer the proceedings till he receives a response to his request for certain documents from Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

The committee, comprising Justice Aftab Alam of the Supreme Court, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S Khehar and senior advocate P P Rao, has asked Dinakaran to respond to the sixteen charges framed against him by April 20, sources said.

The committee, which issued the charge sheet to Dinakaran in March and asked him to respond by April 9, has made it clear that it will commence the hearing in the matter on April 25 and will not give any further adjournment.

Meanwhile, Advocate Vagai, convener of the Committee for Judicial Accountability, which is spearheading the campaign against Dinakaran, has alleged that he was trying delaying tactics.

The charges against Justice Dinakaran, who is facing impeachment proceedings in Parliament, include possession of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and illegal encroachment on public property and land belonging to Dalits and other weaker sections.

He is also accused of having five Tamil Nadu Housing Board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, benami transactions, acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling fixed by the TN Land Reforms Act 1961, destruction of evidence, undervaluation of sale agreements, evasion of stamp duty and illegal constructions.

Justice Dinakaran has also been accused of resorting to irregular and dishonest administrative actions by fixing rosters of judges to facilitate dishonest judicial decisions while he was the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. He has also been charged with undertaking transfers of judges and appointment of staff illegally, sources said.

Dinakaran has been granted the liberty to engage a lawyer of his choice to defend himself.

Justice Dinakaran was recommended for appointment as a Supreme Court judge in August 2009 but the move was stalled following the allegations against him.

The motion for Dinakaran`s removal was admitted in the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2009 following which the Upper House Chairman Ansari constituted the panel to probe the allegations.

Initially, another Supreme Court Judge V S Sirpurkar was appointed to head the panel but he recused himself after the Madras Bar Association and various lawyers` forums sought his withdrawal on the ground that he had worked with Justice Dinakaran in the Madras High Court.

While slapping charges against Justice Dinakaran, the panel took into consideration various materials furnished by the Income Tax department and Tamil Nadu government.