Weeks after the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant against him, Justice Karnan, the recently retired judge of the Calcutta High Court, has been arrested in Coimbatore. Justice Karnan, who has been absconding since May 10, was reportedly found in the guest house of a private college in the city.
According to reports, a joint team of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal police traced his whereabouts using cell phone signals. Three teams of WB police reportedly camped near the college for the last three days to nab Justice Karnan. The TN police meanwhile provided technical support.
Sources say that Justice Karnan resisted arrest, and that he will be taken to Kolkata on Wednesday. He is likely to be sent to the Presidency jail.
The retired judge, according to sources, will be taking a 11.15 pm flight from Coimbatore to Chennai on Tuesday night.
Justice CS Karnan has been locked in a battle with the Supreme Court of India for several months now. It all started with a letter that he wrote to the Prime Minister in January this year.
In the letter, Justice Karnan gave an 'initial list of corrupt judges' in the Madras High Court. The judge claimed that there was massive corruption in the judiciary, and that proof of this corruption could be found by a competent investigation.
The letter got him into trouble with the judiciary, and the Supreme Court summoned him in February after issuing a suo moto contempt order against him.
The seven judge bench gave Justice Karnan four weeks to respond to the contempt notice; however, though Justice Karnan appeared before the court on March 31, he refused to respond to the contempt notice.
Following this, the seven judge bench proceeded with the contempt hearing, and asked Justice Karnan to submit himself to a medical examination.
The judge though refused to undergo a medical examination, and questioned the sanity of the SC judges instead.
"The order which was passed today by Supreme Court was a âmadmanâ order. They have lost their minds. Only those who are mentally unstable will pass such orders, itâs a mad order. I feel for them. The seven SC judges are not mentally stable. They need doctorâs help, I donât. I am prosecuting them under SC/ST Act, so they are scared have lost their mind,â Justice CS Karnan said in an interview with News 18 on May 1.
Guilty of contempt
The Supreme Court eventually found Justice Karnan guilty of contempt, and ordered his arrest on May 9.
However, Justice Karnan absconded following the order. The judge, through his lawyers, had moved the apex court seeking recall of the May 9 order of the seven-judge bench which had held him guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months imprisonment by ordering the West Bengal police to take him into custody forthwith.