The income tax department confirmed that at least three relatives of Justice KG Balakrishnan, former chief justice of India and National Human Rights Commission chairman, had been holding a huge amount of black money. Regional director general of taxes ET Lucos said, “As far as Justice Balakrishanan is concerned, we can’t say anything. But his two sons-in-law and brother possess black money.” He, however, refused to disclose the amount unearthed so far.
Two weeks ago, Balakrishnan asked the income tax unit in Kochi not to disclose the details of his I-T returns that had been sought under the Right to Information Act. He argued that the CJI’s office was out of the purview of the Act.
Asked if Balakrishnan would also be questioned, Lucos said, “I can’t say anything now. We have probed the assets they (the relatives) procured during the last five years. Investigations are on." The probe will be completed by the next month.
Media carried a series of reports - based on documents fished out of government offices in Tamil Nadu and Kerala - in January on Balakrishnan’s sons-in-law, brother and nephew amassing wealth disproportionate to their income.
Following that, Balakrishnan’s brother KG Bhaskaran had to quit as a government pleader, while one of his sons-in-law, VP Sreenijan, quit the Youth Congress. Later, the I-T department’s Kochi unit was asked to probe the wealth of Balakrishnan’s relatives. “We will quiz them again to find out the source of the money,” Lucos said.
The Kerala government has already ordered a vigilance probe into the wealth of his elder son-in-law, Sreenijan. Sreenijan showed a bank balance of Rs. 25,000 and no landed property in an affidavit filed with the Election Commission in 2006. But his wealth was found to have grown more than one hundred times in the next four years.
Justice Balakrishnan became the Chief Justice of India in 2007.
Although at least seven of his relatives are under scanner various quarters - including legal luminaries, political parties and various bar associations - demanding his version, the NHRC chief is yet to break his silence.
Controversies over Justice KG Balakrishnan: (Source: Wikipedia)
He is recently involved in major controversies. Firstly, Justice H. L. Gokhale of the Supreme Court has accused K. G. Balakrishnan of misrepresenting facts to conceal sacked telecom minister A. Raja's attempt to influence Justice R. Reghupathy of Madras High Court on behalf of two murder accused known to the DMK leader. Secondly, Balakrishnan's son-in-law and Indian Youth Congress leader P. V. Srinijan, who did not have any land four years ago, is now the owner of property worth lakhs of rupees. According to a report by news channel Asianet News, Srinijan had declared while contesting as a Congress candidate in the 2006 Assembly elections that he had no landed property. He had contested unsuccessfully from the SC reserved constituency of Njarackal in Ernakulam. Srinijan resigned from the Youth Congress.
The former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma, the former apex court Judge V. R. Krishna Iyer, noted jurist Fali S. Nariman, former member of NHRC Sudarshan Agrawal and the prominent activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan have called for Justice Balakrishnan to step down from the chairmanship of National Human Rights Commission pending an inquiry into the matter.
A petition seeking Vigilance probe into the allegations of amassment of wealth disproportionate to their sources of income by the family members of Justice Balakrishnan, was filed before the Vigilance and Anti corruption Bureau.
Quotes by Justice KG Balakrishnan:
• "Really, it is a matter of pride for us, but what I achieved is the result of hard labour and integrity."
• "Both advocates and judges have an equal responsibility towards the society. So both deserve equal respect from the people."
• "The forcible strikes by political parties has a very bad effect on common people. You can see how patients, passengers, and children suffer during strikes."
• "Trial and defence lawyers should not terrorise witnesses. A judge should be alert and caring."
• "Any dilution of the right to a fair trial for all individuals, however heinous their crimes may be, will be a moral loss against those who preach hatred and violence."
• "In India, different types of crimes are on the increase. The death penalty will have a deterrent effect on the people. If you analyse [the cases], many of those who were given death penalty really deserved it in the cases imposed [on them]."
As If He Knew - RTI will find it one day:
Justice Balakrishnan has tried to exempt the Office of the Chief Justice of India from the purview of the Right to Information Act. He ordered the Supreme Court registry to file an appeal before the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court judgement making the office of the CJI amenable to the RTI act. He has also spoken about the need for amending the RTI act in the interests of the right to privacy.