Judge held over Rs 22-lakh bribe

Judge held over Rs 22-lakh bribe
A senior civil judge, her husband and a lawyer were arrested here on Thursday on charges of demanding a bribe of Rs 22 lakh from a person to settle a complaint in his favour.

Searches conducted at the residence of the judge, Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal, led to the recovery of Rs 94 lakh in cash, two locker keys and several documents. Rachna, the senior civil judge (West) of Tis Hazari courts in Delhi, had appointed lawyer Vikas Mehal as the local commissioner for conducting an inspection of a disputed property and submitting a report.

The lawyer is claimed to have demanded a bribe of Rs two lakh for himself and Rs 20 lakh for the judge for deciding the matter in the favour of complainant, CBI sources said. As an initial payment, Rs five lakh was to be paid by the complainant.

After the complainant approached the CBI, the investigators laid a trap. The lawyer was caught red-handed while reportedly accepting Rs five lakh as bribe on behalf of the judge.

“The advocate disclosed that the bribe amount was meant to be handed over to the said judge. Subsequently, the bribe money was delivered by the advocate to the judge at her residence, out of which she kept Rs four lakh and gave Rs one lakh to the advocate,” a CBI statement said. The bribe money of Rs five lakh was recovered by the CBI. During investigation, the involvement of Rachna’s husband, Alok Lakhanpal, came to the fore and he was also arrested along with Mehal.

Rachna was presented before Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal, who sent her to judicial custody till October 13, while her husband and the lawyer were sent to two-day CBI custody. The judge’s bail application will be heard on October 3.

During the hearing, the CBI told the court that a complaint was received against Rachna on September 27, and she was arrested while accepting Rs 4 lakh from the advocate.

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