Ex-CJI Verma asks K G Balakrishnan to quit as NHRC chief

Ex-CJI Verma asks K G Balakrishnan to quit as NHRC chief

Ex-CJI Verma asks K G Balakrishnan to quit as NHRC chief

"I think he (Balakrishnan) should quit and if the allegations are not true according to him, the burden lies on him to prove them wrong and silence is no longer an option," Verma said reacting to the charge by the I-T department.

On if he refuses to step down, Verma said, "Well, in that case, I think it's time the President should move in to take action. There is after all a provision for removal.
"So if he chooses to keep quiet and doesn't have himself cleared, well then, the removal proceedings should be commenced," he said.

In further embarrassment to Balakrishnan, who is currently the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Income Tax authorities in Kochi had alleged yesterday that three of his relatives were found to possess black money during their investigation into allegations of amassment of disproportionate wealth by them.

"As far as Justice Balakrishnan is concerned, I cannot say anything. But as far as his relatives-- two sons-in-law and brother are concerned, we have found there is black money", Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Kochi, E T Lukose, had told reporters here.

Justice Balakrishnan's sons-in-law P V Sreenijan and M J Benny, both advocates, and brother K G Bhaskaran, former Special government pleader, have been found to be possessing black money, he had said.

Verma said, "He (Balakrishnan) continues to be NHRC Chairman. His words hold no credibility. See, it's like this. Corruption is the most egregious form of human rights violation.

"And a person accused of serious human rights violation heading the National Human Rights Commission itself is a great travesty of justice," the ex-Chief Justice of India said.

Expressing "great disappointment" over the allegation, Verma said, "I feel the situation's credibility ought to be protected from further erosion as also the individual credibility of Balakrishnan himself."

He said allegations were that the relations of Balakrishnan had become suddenly very rich during his tenure as CJI.

"Well, there is a nail of suspicion being pointed at him and it is just (for him) to clear (his name). Silence is no longer an option," he said.

Maintaining that the law should take its own course, Verma said, "I think judges should be answerable and accountable to a yardstick, at least as strict and preferably stricter than the one that applies to others when they judge others."

Lukose had said in Kochi, "We are investigating how they (Balakrishnan's relatives) have got the black money. We will again question the relatives."

The official had refused to state the quantum of black money with them.

Lukose had also refused to say whether Balakrishnan will be questioned or not. "I cannot say anything now", he had said.

The I-T investigation covered the last five years, he had said, adding the probe was in the final stages and likely to be completed by next month.

"The central government has so far not asked us -- the IT investigation wing -- for any report," according to the Kerala I-T official.

The investigation wing had at first conducted a preliminary inquiry into the allegations of amassment of wealth against the relatives of Balakrishnan.

After the allegations came to the fore, Bhaskaran, Balakrishnan's brother had resigned as special government pleader of Kerala High Court citing health reasons.

Sreenijan, who had unsuccessfully contested the assembly polls as a Congress candidate, had quit Youth Congress after facing the charges. He is also facing a vigilance probe.