Verdict-for-bribe charge against Kerala HC judges

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi published on January 30, 2011

Dealing a heavy blow to the credibility of the Judiciary, which is already facing a hard time due to charges leveled against judges like former CJI KG Balakrishnan, a television channel on Sunday reported that two former judges of the Kerala High Court had accepted bribe to issue orders favoring former minister and Muslim League general secretary PK Kunhalikutty in the infamous ice cream parlour sex racket case.

The shocking revelation was made by KC Peter, former Additional Director General of Prosecutions, according to the channel. According to Peter, Justices K Thankappan and K Narayana Kurup of the Kerala High Court had accepted bribes aggregating Rs 40 lakh from Kunhalikutty to dismiss pleas seeking CBI probe against him in the sex scandal in 2007.

In the video clipping – shot in a sting operation – aired by the channel, Peter said that Kunhalikutty would have gone into prison had the two judges not issued orders in his favour after taking bribes. “There is no judge in the High Court as corrupt as Narayana Kurup,” the video showed Peter as saying. However, he denied having revealed anything like this later.

Peter said he had advised KA Rauf, Kunhalikutty’s co-brother, on ways to influence the two judges. Justices Thankappan and Kurup were said to be Peter’s classmates at the law academy and colleagues in the legal profession. Rauf had triggered the current controversy over the 15-year-old parlour sex scandal with some stunning revelations on Friday.

Justice Kurup denied the allegation saying he had not accepted even “ten rupees” from anybody to dismiss the petition seeking CBI probe into the scandal. “The case was not serious enough to be handed over to the CBI. Also, it was a case in which a person like Kunhalikutty was involved,” he told the media.

Peter rejected the channel report late Friday evening by saying that he had not said the things reported by it but admitted that the man shown in the video was himself and that he had met the channel’s representative with Rauf. He alleged that the channel had cooked up the video with the help of mimicry artistes who had imitated his sound.

Justices Thankappan and Narayana Kurup had in 2007 dismissed an appeal moved by the Government challenging a lower court order acquitting all the 16 accused in the sex racket case and a revision petition seeking CBI probe into the scandal. According to legal experts, these were the verdicts that actually saved Kunhalikutty from the case.

Rejina, one of the victims in the sex scandal, had said that Kunhalikutty had sexually abused her at three different locations in 1996 when she was a minor. However, she later changed the statements she had given to the police and the court, allegedly due to the threats and offers made by Kunhalikutty through Rauf and others.

In the video, Peter is shown as saying that Kunhalikutty had paid money to Justice Thankappan whenever this was needed. “(Favorable) judgement can be earned if there is money. Didn’t they get (such) judgement?” Peter was shown as asking. However, he said on Friday evening that he had not made any allegation against the judges.

Several lawyers of the Kerala High Court said that they were not surprised to hear about the allegations against Justice Kurup but the allegation against Justice Thankappan was shocking. They also questioned the credibility of Peter, who was still an accused in the infamous Vithura sex abuse case.

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