Bofors case: BJP leader files plea for CJI's recusal, says he is 'prejudiced'

The BJP leader said the court was about to dismiss the matter on at least 3 instances because of Sibal's 'unwarranted' interference'.

New Delhi: A BJP leader, pursuing the politically sensitive Bofors pay-off case, filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking recusal of the Chief Justice of
India Dipak Misra on Wednesday.

Advocate Ajay Agrawal, who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Rae Bareli against then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, alleged that the chief justice was "prejudiced" and "bent upon" dismissing the case relating to Rs 64 crore pay-off matter without going into the merits.

He referred to the January 16 hearing to draw an inference that the bench headed by CJI would, in all likelihood, dismiss the appeal filed by him against the May 31, 2005 judgement of the Delhi High Court discharging all the accused in the case.

At the last hearing, he said, senior advocate Kapil Sibal was allowed to speak even after he objected to it.

He said the CJI did not stop Sibal from interfering in the matter.

Also read: SC asks BJP leader to explain locus over filing appeal in Bofors case

The lawyer said there were at least three occasions during the hearing when the court was about to dismiss the matter because of Sibal's "unwarranted" interference.

"When the matter was called upon Sibal, who was already sitting in the front row on the left side, hops on the advocate's addressing dais and started addressing this Court and said that matter is 31 years old and the appellant has no locus standi.

"Applicant immediately came forward and asked whom Mr Sibal represents. He was silent. The applicant requested the CJI to ask from Sibal that for whom he is appearing...But the Chief Justice did not stop him from interfering in the matter," Agrawal said in his application.

He claimed the court was about to dismiss the Criminal Appeal without going into the merits when it came up for hearing 12 years after it was admitted.

Agrawal claimed due to Sibal's intervention, the bench observed that the matter was quite old and was about to dismiss the case and, "in fact, had dropped the file in a gesture of dismissal".

At this juncture, the top court also questioned the locus standi of the applicant because Sibal had so suggested, he alleged.

On the court's query, Agrawal told the bench that there was no time limit in a criminal matter and that there were innumerable judgements which allowed a third party to appeal in criminal proceedings where the prosecuting agency had failed to file an appeal.

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