Wrote to judges for inquiry panel of ex-SC judges on allegations against CJI: AG Venugopal

Attorney General K K Venugopal Friday said he had written to all the Supreme Court judges for setting up of a committee of three former apex court judges to look into sexual harassment allegations against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, before the in-house panel was constituted. Clarifying his position on reported differences with the government on the issue and that he was contemplating resigning, Venugopal told PTI: The report in the Wire is wholly incorrect except for the fact that I wrote a letter and clarified it. The top law officer said he had written the letter on April 22, before a three member in-house committee headed by Justice S A Bobde was set up to hold an inquiry into the allegations of a former apex court woman employee against CJI Gogoi. I admit that I had written a letter before the appointment of an in-house inquiry committee seeking appointment of three retired judges of the Supreme Court, Venugopal said. The law officer also said that he wrote the second letter clarifying his position that the earlier one was written in his personal capacity as a senior bar member having an experience of 65-years. The In-House Inquiry Committee had on May 6 given clean chit to the CJI saying it found no substance in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a former woman employee of the apex court. The 3-member Committee constituted on April 23 had completed its task in 14 days by proceeding ex-parte as the woman had opted out of the inquiry on April 30 after participating for three days. The Committee, also comprising two woman judges of the apex court – Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee – had on May 1 recorded the statement of the CJI who had appeared before it.