SUPREME COURT HOLDS CBI'S EX-INTERIM CHIEF NAGESWARA RAO GUILTY OF CONTEMPT

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held CBI's former interim Director M. Nageswara Rao guilty of contempt for disobeying its order to not transfer Joint Director A.K. Sharma, who was probing the Bihar shelter home cases, from the premier investigating agency.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, termed his act a “blatant” disobedience of the court’s order and directed him to sit in the courtroom for the remaining working hours for the day. It also levied a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on him.

The Bench refused to accept the unconditional apology tendered by Mr. Rao, saying he was aware of the court order. It said, “He was the interim Director. Would the heavens fall if the relieving letter [of Mr. Sharma] was issued a day later?”.

The Bench said it was unable to comprehend why Mr. Rao did not communicate his decision to transfer Mr. Sharma, despite a legal advisor asking him to do so.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Mr. Rao, asked the court to pardon the officer, terming the incident a bona fide mistake and an error of judgement.

“Speaking for myself, the dignity of court must be maintained, but this is blatant,” the CJI said.

The court was hearing a contempt case initiated by it on February 7 against Mr. Rao for transferring the joint director.

In his apology letter, Mr. Rao said, “I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I specially state I have not wilfully violated the order of this court as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing the order of this court.”