The SC held former interim CBI Director M Nageshwara Rao guilty of contempt, imposing Rs 1 lakh fine and one day detention inside the court premises
Expressing the discontentment, the Supreme Court of India was in no mood for clemency today. In a strongly worded order, the Court, on Tuesday, held former Interim CBI Director M Nageshwara Rao and CBI Additional Legal Advisor S Bhasuran guilty of contempt. Coming down heavily on Rao and Bhasuran, CJI Ranjan Gogoi ordered, “Go to one corner of court and sit down till court rises.”
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh, on both Rao and Bhasuran individually, for violating SC’s order on freezing transfer of CBI officers probing the Muzaffarpur Shelter home abuse case.
The Bench also added, “Nageswar Rao was aware of SC’s directions that the CBI officer cannot be transferred without its consent. If this is not contempt of court then what is?” Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, also part of the SC bench hearing the case, said, “Nageswara Rao has put himself at mercy of the court and has had an unblemished career as a police officer. Even if we accept his apology, his career record will remain blemished, as he has acted in contempt by his own admission.”
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing before the SC bench, accepted that it was a series of mistakes. Offering an unconditionally apology, Venugopal informed the SC bench that this mistake was not committed willfully. Requesting leniency for Rao, the AG also added, “He has an unblemished track record of 32 years. Please kindly adopt merciful approach as he has tendered apologies.”
In response to the contempt notice dated February 7, Rao earlier filed an affidavit saying, “I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I especially state I have not willfully violated the order of this court, as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing order of this court.”
This came in reference to previous SC orders dated October 31 and November 28, 2018, where it had directed that Joint Director A K Sharma would remain in charge of the investigation. The later order also said that no official associated with the probe should be transferred without the leave of the Court. However, Sharma was moved from the investigation on Rao’s orders.
The bench also transferred the trial to Delhi (from Patna) and asked the designated Saket Court to complete the trial in six months under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012.