'Anguished' Ganguly approaches CJI, alleges efforts to malign him
Facing allegations of sexual assault, former Supreme Court judge A.K. Ganguly Monday wrote to the chief justice of India expressing anguish over the apex court not addressing him "correctly" and claimed there was a "concerted effort" to "tarnish his image" for delivering judgments against "powerful quarters".
Claiming there was a "palpable design" to malign him at the instance of "interested quarters", Ganguly raised questions about the apex court panel's proceedings and report which indicted him of "unwelcome behaviour" towards a law intern.
In an eight-page letter - a copy of which is with IANS - to Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, about three weeks after the three-judge panel submitted its report, Ganguly regretted he was treated like a "person in captivity" while appearing before the probe committee.
Breaking his silence over the issue, which has created a nationwide stir, Ganguly asserted in the letter - forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee - that he never harassed or made any unwelcome advances towards any female intern.
"I am anguished that the Supreme Court (SC) did not address me correctly," he said, expressing shock over the statement of the intern getting leaked into the media, even though he was denied access to it by the probe committee.
"I was told curtly that the proceedings being confidential, I will not be given a copy. There was a compulsive tone to it. I was shocked to find that the substantial portion of the intern's statement was leaked out verbatim to a Bengali newspaper. I am left to wonder," said Ganguly.
"I see in the whole game a palpable design to malign me at the instance of interested quarters," said the former judge, demanding an urgent enquiry to find out at whose instance it was leaked out.
Stating that no complaint was filed either before the apex court or before the CJI by the intern, Ganguly contended that "a newspaper report (Nov 12), without any verification, could certainly not have been the basis of a petition by attorney general, on which your lordship is reported to have acted".
"Thus the stated reasons that the committee was set up to find out whether the judge was a sitting judge cannot be accepted because the blog expressly disclosed a retired judge," he said, referring to the intern describing about her alleged ordeal on a blog.
Ganguly noted that he appeared in "good faith and without questioning its authority", before the committee, but he said the conduct of court officials and the proceedings before the probe committee "were far from appropriate".
"I was treated almost like a person in captivity. Has this been done under your Lordship's direction? I hope not," wrote the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) chairperson in the letter.
"The events clearly seem to suggest that there is a concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgments against powerful interests. Despite odds, I judged without fear and favour.
"If that triggers collateral attack on me then it poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary," said Ganguly who had given a verdict in the case concerning allocation of the 2G spectrum.
The three-judge committee formed to look into the allegations had observed that "statement of (victim) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Ganguly judge with the intern in a hotel last year.
Ganguly who has refused to step down as the rights panel chair despite a growing nationwide chorus for his scalp, clarified in the letter that there was a "cordial meeting followed by dinner" with the intern, and he saw her off in a car "arranged at my request".
(Posted on 23-12-2013)