CJI allegation: Justice Patnaik to probe lawyer's claim

The top court also directed the Delhi Police, the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI to assist him in the probe. (PTI File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed retired judge Justice A K Patnaik to conduct an inquiry into a lawyer's claims of a conspiracy to "frame" CJI Ranjan Gogoi in a "false" sexual harassment case.

The top court also directed the Delhi Police, the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI to assist him in the probe.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta passed the order, asking Justice Patnaik, who recently supervised CVC inquiry against then CBI chief Alok Verma, to probe the sensational claims made by advocate Utsav Singh Bains in affidavits filed before the court.

The court's order came in a suo motu case registered on Saturday as a 'matter of great public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary' after the charges made by an ex-woman employee were published in a group of news websites.

The court, pronouncing its order, also rejected claims of privilege made by Bains, under Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act. It directed him to furnish all the materials available with him in support of his allegations.

Bains claimed some disgruntled employees along with a corporate figure and fixers had attempted to frame the CJI in the "false" case of sexual harassment.

The court clarified that the probe ordered by it would not affect an in-house inquiry ordered separately into the former woman employee.

The bench had earlier said it becomes our responsibility to keep this Institution clean.

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