The Attorney General KK Venugopal has filed a contempt petition against advocate Prashant Bhushan for his vindictive and reckless tweets regarding the appointment of interim CBI director M Nageshwar Rao.
Bhushan had tweeted that the appointment of Rao had happened without the consent of the high-powered committee comprising of the PM, Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition. But, when the case was heard last week, AG Venugopal had furnished the document proving that the appointment of Rao was indeed approved and signed by the high-powered committee.
I have just confirmed personally from the Leader of Opposition Mr Kharge that no discussion or decision in HPC meet was taken re appt of Nageswara Rao as interim Director CBI.The govt appears to have misled the court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the HPC meeting! https://t.co/MbEC5YLjkD
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 1, 2019
Prashant Bhushan defended his tweet, claiming that the opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge told him that no discussion regarding the appointment of interim CBI director had taken place in the HPC meeting.
Citing the minutes of the meetings extracted by the AG KK Venugopal, he claimed that the signatures of Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge testify that the decision of appointing the interim director of the CBI was taken with his consent.
The relevant part highlighted and relied upon by Venugopal in his defence read as: “The Central government may post a suitable officer to look after the duties of Director, CBI till the appointment of a new Director CBI.”
He argued that since the minutes were signed by all three members of the HPC, all the three were aware of and party to the decision taken at the meeting. Thus, the proclamation made by Bhushan couldn’t be true as the leader of the opposition himself signed the document and he could not have denied it to Bhushan.
In the petition, KK Venugopal contends that without applying to the court for the minutes of the meeting, Bhushan went ahead and chose to level serious allegations against the Attorney General for India and the Government of India and questioned the integrity of the AG. “This is not only rash but also exhibits malice and dishonesty. It is obvious that Bhushan attempted to generate publicity through the press and social media”, the petition states.
The petition also stated that the actions employed by the respondent to alter the pending proceedings might grievously affect the administration of justice and hence the petition requested that contempt of court be initiated against Bhushan.
This is not the first time that a contempt petition has been filed against Bhushan. A contempt petition was filed against him for making reckless imputations against the Judiciary. Prashant Bhushan’s flip-flop regarding Alok Verma’s appointment and removal is well documented. There’s also an interminable list of instances when Prashant Bhushan had made or share unverified facts on his Social Media accounts to score petty political brownie points.