Attorney General K K Venugopal has recused himself from dealing with a plea for his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju in connection with his observations against the judiciary in the case of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi.
Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava had made a request to the A-G for his nod for action against Justice Katju for his remark that 50% judiciary was corrupt in India.
In response, Venugopal said, “I have known Justice Katju for last about 16 years and we have been interacting with each other ever since. In this background, it is not appropriate that I deal with the matter."
He, however, cited Explanation (a) Section 15 (3), which allowed seeking such consent from the Attorney General or Solicitor General.
"If advised, you may file your application for consent before Solicitor General Tushar Mehta," he told Srivastava.
In his deposition as an expert witness before a court in the United Kingdom in September 2020, Justice Katju said 50% judiciary is corrupt in India and therefore, a fair justice is not possible for the fugitive accused Nirav Modi.
Modi is accused of duping banks of Rs 13,000 crore along with Mehul Choksi.
The UK court, which allowed India's request for extradition of Modi, termed Justice Katju's deposition "astonishing, inappropriate and grossly insensitive", besides being "less than objective and reliable".