Arrested in judicial corruption case in September 2017, the former Odisha High Court judge IM Quddusi and his associates used code words such as Ped(plant), Gamla(pot), Saaman(goods) and Prasad(offering) while talking about the bribes that were allegedly paid to a certain “captain” in lieu of a favourable order from the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has said in its charge sheet in the case.
As per a report by Hindustan Times, the charge-sheet which was filed by the agency in July last year named Quddusi along with several others alleged to be involved in the case. The charge-sheet mentioned Biswanath Agarwala, an Odisha businessman who allegedly claimed to have high contacts in the judiciary; and five others, Bhawna Pandey, Sudhir Giri, Ram Dev Saraswat, and owners and top functionaries of Prasad Educational Trust, BP Yadav and Palash Yadav.
According to the agency, the Yadavs Were seeking relief from the judiciary after being proscribed by the Medical Council of India from providing admission to the students in their Lucknow-based college, Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences, in the academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19 after allegations of wrongdoings surfaced against it.
In the charge-sheet accessed by Hindustan Times, the CBI has reportedly provided 80 telephone intercepts of Quddusi and his associates which, as per the agency, completely unravels the conspiracy. It claims that Giri, BP Yadav and Agarwala had a meeting with Quddusi at the latter’s residence on August 23, 2017, and just two days later, the Allahabad HC division bench that included Shri Narayan Shukla gave an interim order putting a stay on the college’s delisting until next hearing.
However, undeterred by the Allahabad HC verdict, the Medical Council of India approached the Supreme Court against the order. Meanwhile, Quddusi and Pandey assured BP Yadav that they will get his work done in the apex court, the charge-sheet mentions.
The CBI then filed a fresh case against Justice Shukla for allegedly accepting a bribe to pass an order in favour of the Prasad Medical College. In 2018, taking cognisance of the case, the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra, had asked Justice Shukla to either resign or seek voluntary retirement. However, Shukla passed up CJI’s advice, following which the CJI asked the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court not to assign him any judicial work.
The charge-sheet further mentions that the ex-judge Quddusi chewed over the bribe amount with Agarwala which was finalised at 3 crores, with approximately 2.5 crores going to the “captain”. Agarwala says to Quddusi: “….Abhi jo hamara captain hai na, Unka all over India hai, jo bhi kaam ho karne k elite tayyar hai (Our Captain hold’s sway across the entire country now. We can get work done anywhere).”
At one point, the charge sheet mentions that Agarwala stated to BP Yadav, “The government of the Chaiwala (tea-seller, referring to PM Modi), is keeping an eye over everyone, so the ‘captain’ will not meet anyone directly, but the work will be done if you pay the money.
As per charge sheet, Quddusi was working at the behest of the Yadavs and it was Agarwala’s remit to get a favourable order from the Supreme Court.
As per reports, the accused used te code word ‘Mandir’ for the SC or HC. At one point, they discuss a hawala transaction where Agarwala was asked to collect money from a Hawala operator at Chandni Chowk by mentioning the code word ‘ten rupees note’.