Cash-at-judge’s door: Two witnesses turn hostile

Jagpreet Singh Sandhu
Vimal Bhardwaj and Kuldeep Singh were declared hostile by the court. (Representational)

The special CBI Court of Chandigarh Saturday declared two witnesses hostile in the cash-at-judge’s-door case on the request of CBI special public prosecutor. Prosecutor Anupam Gupta said that both of them were suppressing the truth and resiling from statements given in 2008.

Four witnesses, OP Singh, Laxmi Kant, Kuldeep Singh and Vimal Bhardwaj, testified in the CBI Court of ADJ Dr Sushil Kumar Garg. Vimal Bhardwaj and Kuldeep Singh were declared hostile by the court.  The case dates back to August 13, 2008, when Rs 15 lakh was delivered to the residence of the then Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. She informed the matter to police. Later, it was reportedly found that the money was supposed to be delivered at Justice Nirmal Yadav’s residence but got wrongly delivered.

In its chargesheet, it had said that the money was meant for Justice Yadav in lieu of a judgment favouring a client of an advocate Sanjiv Bansal (now deceased). Vimal Bhardwaj testified that he used to go to the hotel of Ravinder Singh Bhasin, and stay there along with other retailers since he had to purchase material from Karol Bagh in New Delhi. Vimal further said that he remained busy the whole day with business and, therefore, there was no time to meet Ravinder Singh personally during visits to his hotel and in 2008 since he was constructing a house, he did not meet Ravinder Singh.

On this, the prosecutor made Vimal confronted to his 161 CrPC statements which read, “Ravinder Singh is a very resourceful person, having very good relations with politicians, higher bureaucracy / judiciary...On my query, he (Ravinder Singh) informed me that he had purchased some land in Himachal Pradesh with partnership with Mrs. Nirmal Yadav, a Judge in Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and he had sent Rs 15 lakh as payment for the said land through his friend Sanjiv Bansal to Mrs. Nirmal Yadav. But due to some communication gap, the said money was wrongly delivered at the house of some other Judge and because of that he was in trouble”.

“He (Ravinder Singh) stayed in my house for about 7-8 days while leaving, he did not tell me about the place he was going to. I did not know that police is looking for him...He again visited my house after 5-6 days and stayed alongwith his wife and Charu at one of the flats at Kuthal Gate for 2 days...After two days, he again left to undisclosed destination...”, read the statement of Bhardwaj, confronted to him by Gupta on Saturday, which he denied of telling to CBI and stated that it is wrong that he have wilfully resiled from his earlier statement.

Kuldeep Singh, a retired Army Subedar, testified that he knows Ravinder Bhasin as he is the cousin of his relative and he (Kuldeep) had met Bhasin on several occasions. “I do not know anything about this case. I had read in the newspaper that some Judge was taking money. Accused Ravinder Singh did not meet me in 2008”, Kuldeep testified.
Kuldeep was then confronted to his 161 CrPC statements of 2008, which read, “Some time during 2nd week of September, 2008 one day at about 7-7:30 pm, Shri Ravinder Singh called me on my landline phone and told me that he was in Narayangarh”.

It further read, “One time in October, I came to know from Jangi that Ravinder had sent Rs 15 lakh from Delhi for delivery to Justice Nirmal Yadav at Chandigarh for some land deal through his friend Sanjiv Bansal which got wrongly delivered at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur who called police and a case was registered and also that Ravinder was in jail”.

Kuldeep also denied to have wilfully resiled from his earlier statement. Meanwhile, the court also disposed of the application of accused Nirmal Yadav seeking permission to her passport renewed it from the passport authority. The CBI court granted her liberty to file an application for renewal of her passport before the competent Passport Authority.