In a sensational allegation, a Karnataka High Court judge on Monday, July 4, said in open court that he was threatened with a transfer for pulling up the Karnataka Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Justice Hethur Puttaswamygowda Sandesh of the Karnataka High Court has alleged that a sitting judge of the High Court warned him that he could be transferred as the ADGP of the ACB had expressed unhappiness with the judgeâ€™s remarks against the ACB.
The court was hearing a bail application filed by an accused who was caught red-handed accepting a bribe at the office of Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner J Manjunath. Deputy tehsildar Mahesh and contract worker Chetan were caught while receiving a bribe of Rs 5 lakh in connection with giving a favourable order from the DC court on a land dispute case. Though deputy tehsildar Mahesh had submitted a statement that he had received the bribe on Manjunathâ€™s instructions, Manjunath was never named in the FIR.
The High Court was hearing Mahesh's bail plea in June 30, which is when the bench of Justice Sandesh was told that J Manjunath was not named in the FIR. The High Court then had questioned this, and had called the ACB a "centre of corruption" and "collection centre". The HC had also said that the ACB is presently â€śheaded by a tainted ADGP.â€ť After the HC's comments, J Manjunath was added as accused number three in the bribery case and was also shunted out as the Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban.
On Monday, July 4, when the bail application came up again for hearing, Justice Sandesh said in open court that he had learnt that a fellow judge informed him that he could be transferred, as the ADGP is not happy with the judgeâ€™s remarks. Justice Sandesh told the court that he is ready to be transferred. "I am ready for it for the good of people. Your ACB ADGP (Seemanth Kumar Singh) seems to be a powerful person. Somebody has told this to my colleague. I have been informed about it by a judge. The threat of transfer will be recorded in the order," Justice Sandesh stated.
"I don't fear anyone. I am ready to bell the cat. I have not accumulated property after becoming a judge. I don't care if I lose the position. I am the son of a farmer. I am ready to till the land. I don't belong to any political party. I don't adhere to any political ideology," he remarked.
Earlier, while looking into the bail petition of accused Mahesh, the High Court bench stated that ACB offices in the state have become centres of corruption. â€śSenior officers are let off and only juniors are made accused in corruption cases. The cases have to be lodged against senior officers who indulge in corruption,â€ť the bench of Justice Sandesh had remarked.
"Are you protecting the public or tainted persons? The black coat is not for the protection of the corrupt. Corruption has become a cancer and it should not reach the fourth stage. The officers are being extorted after threatening them with search warrants," Justice Sandesh had said.
"What should be done when the fence eats up the crop? The service records of ACB ADGP have not been produced before the court. You have reached a stage of issuing threats to the judge. The whole state is mired in corruption. If Vitamin M (money) is there, you (ACB) will protect anyone," he had said.