NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has sought the Tamil Nadu Government’s response over allegations that former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan was alloted two prime plots of land in Chennai under a benami transaction by then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar also asked the Kerala Government to file a reply on the application seeking details of various alleged illegal assets of Justice Balakrishnan seized by the State Government.The apex court passed the direction on the interlocutory application moved by an advocate who had earlier filed a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry into the alleged illegal assets possessed by Balakrishnan, presently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC).The bench had earlier on February 18 asked the Attorney General G E Vahanvati to submit a status report on the complaint filed by a journalist to Vice-President Hamid Ansari on alleged illegal assets “amassed” by the former CJI.In the latest application mentioned before the bench on October 21, it was alleged that Karunanidhi misused his discretionary power and allotted two prime plots of land in Chennai to Kannabiran a former aide of Balakrishnan.It was alleged that Kannabiran whose monthly income was just around Rs 10,000 had applied for land in Nolambur on February 7, 2008 and was allotted a plot the next day. The second plot in Anna Nagar was allotted on April 3, 2008.”Putting the value of the Nolambur plot between Rs 47-49 lakh, Manoharan, a surveyor with TNHB (Tamil Nadu Housing Board), admitted before a hidden camera, ‘It is a good locality. Plot number 312 is allotted to a clerk in Supreme Court. He is Kannabiran. He has paid everything. CM has given the allotment’,” the application alleged.It was further alleged that several properties’ documents, belonging to kith and kin of Balakrishnan have been seized by the Kerala government and hence the apex court to summon the details from the State.The court had earlier asked Vahanvati to convey to it the progress on the complaint filed last year in which allegations were made against Balakrishnan, his brother, son, son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws of accumulating financial assets after he assumed the office of CJI. Balakrishnan has refuted the allegations.The court while adjourning the matter said it would wait till the AG comes out with the status of the complaint which was filed on May 5 last before the Vice President and forwarded to the Home Ministry.The complaint was filed by a Delhi-based journalist M Furkan seeking a CBI probe into the assets of Balakrishnan and his family members.A copy of the complaint was sent to Justice Kapadia, who had by then been designated to assume the office of CJI after Balakrishnan’s retirement on May 12, 2010.A similar complaint was also filed before the President on May 4 last year and copies were sent to several people including the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The Vice President had referred the complaint to the Home Ministry “for appropriate attention”.Balakrishnan served in the apex court for 10 years since his appointment as the judge on June 8, 2000 and became the CJI on January 14, 2007.The complainant had also demanded that Balakrishnan should not be appointed as the Chief of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a post he is holding now now.The apex court has taken note of the complaint even as the Income Tax has begun a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of amassing of wealth by his family members.In the complaint filed by the journalist, specific allegations have been made against Balakrishnan’s son Pradeep, his son-in-laws P V Sreenijin, Benny and daughter-in-laws Soni and Rani.The complaint also spoke about allegations against Balakrishna’s younger brother K G Bhaskaran, who resigned as a Government Pleader in Kerala High Court following charges of corruption against him. The Kerala government has ordered a vigilance probe against Sreenijan and various lawyers associations have also demanded that Balakrishnan should resign and face probe to clear his name.