Justice Sen denies charges of fin-irregularities

A Calcutta High Court judge Justice Soumitra Sen, who is facing impeachment proceedings, has filed his reply to a Rajya Sabha inquiry panel in which he has denied the charge of financial irregularities against him.

Updated: May 04, 2010, 17:44 PM IST

Kolkata: A Calcutta High Court judge Justice
Soumitra Sen, who is facing impeachment proceedings, has filed
his reply to a Rajya Sabha inquiry panel in which he has
denied the charge of financial irregularities against him.

A source close to Justice Sen today said the reply to a
chargesheet by the three-member inquiry committee was filed
with the Rajya Sabha yesterday.
"Justice Sen has denied the charges brought against him,"
the source told agency on the condition of anonymity.

The inquiry panel, headed by Supreme Court judge Justice
B Sudarshan Reddy, had served Justice Sen with the chargesheet
after it prima facie found that charges of financial
irregularities were made out against him.

The committee that also comprised Chief Justice of Punjab
and Haryana High Court Justice Mukul Mudgal and noted jurist
Fali S Nariman had asked Justice Sen to respond by May five.

After considering the reply of Justice Sen, the Committee
would conclude its hearing and submit a report to Rajya Sabha
Chairperson Hamid Ali Ansari, who is the Vice President.

Fifty-eight members of the Rajya Sabha had moved a motion
in February 2009 to impeach Justice Sen on the basis of a
letter written by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recommending Justice Sen`s
removal.

Justice Sen, who was an advocate of the Calcutta High
Court, was appointed a receiver by the same court in April
1984 in a civil suit between Sail Authority of India
Limited(SAIL) and Port authorities here.
In 1993, the High Court directed Sen to deposit Rs 24
lakh collected from the sale of certain goods arising out of
the suit in a separate bank account. Sen was appointed a judge
of the Calcutta High Court on December three, 2003 but the
amount kept lying in his account. According to the high court,
Justice Sen was found to have diverted Rs 24 lakhs to his
private account.

On April 10, 2006, while directing Justice Sen to pay
the amount with interest, Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta
observed," Receiver being a practising advocate had betrayed
the trust of and confidence reported in him by this court."

Following an order by Justice Sengupta, the money was
returned along with interest in 2008 amounting to Rs 52
lakh.

Justice Sen had then claimed that there was no direction
by the court to keep the money in a separate account and as
such it was kept in his own bank account.

Though Justice Sen was given a favourable order by a
division bench in an appeal against adverse comments made
by Justice Sengupta, the matter did not rest there and an
in-house committee was appointed by the Chief Justice of
India.

Justice Sen was then asked either to step down or to
take voluntary retirement.

But when he refused to do either, the CJI recommended
impeachment proceedings against him in 2008.

PTI