Utsav Singh Bains, the young lawyer representing many of the victims in the Asaram Bapu case, said the current sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi are the results of a ‘big conspiracy’ by a lobby of frustrated judges, lawyers and ‘fixers’.
The lawyer, who is fighting the Asaram Bapu case without taking money from the alleged victims, said he was approached a few days ago to take up the case of the accuser against Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
“When I refused, the person who was initially praising my pro bono work in the Asaram Rape case for the victim etc and interestingly claimed to be her relative, but on the other hand looked like a trained agent. He also couldn’t satisfactorily reply as to what was his relationship with the Ex SC staffer and then suddenly offered me 50 lacs as my legal fees if I agreed to lawyer, and again he asked me specifically to organise a press conference at the PCI (Press Club of India),” said the Harvard Law School alumnus in a Facebook post last evening.
He said he refused to take up the case as he found the facts “fishy”.
“He couldn’t reply to any question about the many loopholes in the story he narrated. When I again refused he said 1.5 Cr. I then asked him to leave my office.”
Soon after this incident, further inquiries led him to suspect that a larger conspiracy was afoot to bring down Justice Gogoi.
“I then enquired more about this issue from reliable sources in Delhi for days, every information pointed to a larger conspiracy to make the CJI resign and kingpin of which are many Delhi based SC fixers or those who engage in cash for judgments. I was convinced about a well planned conspiracy after days of getting such credible information.”
On Friday, a day before the woman’s allegations were published by the portals, the young lawyer tried to warn Justice Gogoi about a conspiracy. On Friday evening, said Bains, he went to Justice Gogoi’s house to try to personally warn him about the plot.
“But his staff said he’s not at his residence… Later at night, I then called a SC reporter with impeccable proven integrity to meet me today for an important subject and also asked him if he could arrange a urgent meeting, or get a message sent to the CJI asap. I had also today morning planned to meet [advocates] Prashant Bhushan Sir and Kamini Jaiswal ma’am about this,” he said.
He said he had the option of keeping quiet now that the allegations have been made official, but his conscience wouldn’t let him be.
“After hours of ponder and soul searching, I have decided to speak the truth and file a detailed affidavit in this regard in the SC along with evidences of the conspiracy against the CJI by a lobby of disgruntled judges, SC fixers, corporate scamsters and a few corrupt Politicians – all who have meticulously planned the conspiracy to force the CJI to resign as their ‘corrupt works were not going through in SC,” he added.
Bains said he was also warned that the same people who were moving against Gogoi would not hesitate to finish his career if he tried to throw a wrench in the works. “But my [conscience] doesn’t allow me to turn my face away and let history record today’s day as the darkest day in the history of SC.”
“I moved to Delhi from Chandigarh as I refused to be institutionalized in judicial nepotism. My grandfather is a retired HC judge who appointed many HC judges and father a senior lawyer, many of his friends or my family friends are HC Judges at PB HRY HC – Precisely the reason why I moved to lawyer in Delhi,” he added in his Facebook Post.
Meanwhile, the official handle of #MeToo India has tweeted the accuser’s story, leading to many of its followers expressing their angst and agony at the apparent harassment.
Rituparna Chatterjee, a journalist and feminist who has been one of the key players in India’s MeToo movement, tweeted that she was not very hopeful about the case.
Vidya Krishnan, who describes herself as an independent journalist and a contributor to publications like Caravan Magazine and LA Times, too did not seem very hopeful of an official outcome.
“I have a feeling women will have to take to the streets to make sure the woman gets a fair trial. She is frankly insane to have made a formal complaint against a sitting Chief Justice of India. More power to her,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile, both supporters of the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress Party accused each other of being behind the alleged conspiracy against the Chief Justice.
While backers of Congress Party allege that this is retribution for him agreeing to admit “stolen” documents on Rafale deal published by The Hindu newspaper, supporters of the BJP allege that this move is intended to stop him from hearing cases involving to Congress’ functionaries.
This week, a bench led by the Chief Justice is set to hear a case of contempt against Rahul Gandhi based on his statement that the Supreme Court had held Narendra Modi as corrupt.
To back up their case, BJP supporters pointed out that the allegations were published almost exclusively by “anti-BJP” news portals.
On Saturday morning, the Chief Justice delivered a 15-minute rebuttal to the allegations made by the unnamed woman, including those of trying to grab her, trying to get her fired from her job and so on.
Gogoi said he suspected a lobby of political forces behind the attack. “I don’t think a junior court assistant is behind this,” he said. “They want to destabilise the CJI considering the important cases coming up for hearing next week in the election month.”
“Nobody can catch me on money part, so they found this to damage my reputation and destabilise the judiciary. From the questions sent by the portals, there appears to be a common thread between them,” he added.
On the allegation that he tried to grope her on October 11 last year, the CJI said:
” ..this particular employee was in the CJI’s residential office from August 27 till October 22. The incident she alleges is of October 11. On October 12 and 13, my principal secretary informed the secretary general (the administrative head of SC) in writing complaining about the inappropriate behaviour of this lady. Then her husband made unsolicited calls to the CJI’s office seeking the CJI’s help to put the lady back in service and help him in getting reinstated in service as he was under suspension pending departmental action.”