- Supreme Court asked to create special team to investigate allegations
- Top judges were paid bribes on behalf of a medical case, says CBI
- CBI probe may not be fair, need independent inquiry: petition
Some lawyers had asked that the Chief Justice recuse himself because he has been hearing the case of the medical college. Today's case is an offshoot - senior lawyers Kamini Jaiswal has asked for the Supreme Court to create a special investigating team that will look at whether the college, located in Lucknow, paid kickbacks to judges. Ms Jaiswal has said that the CBI cannot be counted on for a fair investigation because it is vulnerable to being influenced by the government. An independent team, she has petitioned, is essential for uncovering the truth.
The CBI in its charge-sheet presented in court says it has evidence of judges being open to bribes and last month, it arrested, among others, a former judge of the Orissa High Court named IM Quddusi, who allegedly offered to help ensure a favourable verdict in the Supreme Court.
Critics including lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan say this amounts to "a hand-picked bench" to suggest bias; but five judges of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice, said he is the "master of the roster" and no other judge can decide who will hear a case. Experts confirm this is made clear in the Supreme Court rules. The Chief Justice accused Mr Bhushan of "wild allegations"; he also refused to ban the press from reporting on the case of alleged judicial corruption.
Critics have said that this group did not include the most senior Supreme Court judges.