Millennium Post

SC gives courtroom detention to ex-CBI interim chief Nageswara Rao, legal advisor for contempt

New Delhi: In a punishment reminiscent of a classroom rebuke, the Supreme Court Tuesday ordered the former acting CBI Director M Nageswara Rao and agency's legal advisor S Bhasuram to sit in the courtroom the whole day after holding them guilty of "brazen" contempt of its orders.

"Go to one corner of the court and sit down till the rising of this court," thundered Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, awarding the sentence to "maintain" the dignity and majesty of the court.

Sparing the two of a possible jail term, the apex court also threatened to extend the duration of the sentence till the rising of the court Wednesday when Attorney General K K Venugopal requested at 3.40 pm-just 20 minutes ahead of scheduled closure of court proceedings- that the two officers be allowed to leave.

The court earlier in the day gave an option to Rao and Bhasuram to say something as the sentence for them could be 30 days in jail. "Do you have to say something?" it asked.

Venugopal repeatedly requested the court to look into other options as per the law and sought leniency for them.

The court had earlier directed Rao and Bhasuram to remain seated till the rising of the court and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each to be paid within one week for transferring an officer who was probing the Bihar shelter homes sexual assault cases. "We could not have done anything else," it observed.

"In our considered view, it is a case where both have committed contempt- the then acting CBI Director, M N Rao, and the director prosecution (of the agency)" said the court holding them guilty for "wilfully disobeying" its orders by transferring CBI Joint Director A K Sharma as additional director general of CRPF on January 18.

"We have heard Rao and Bhasuram for the commission of contempt of court, and we impose one lakh fine and sentence them till the rising of the court," said the three-member bench, also comprising justices L N Rao and Sanjiv Khanna.

A pensive looking Rao and Bhasuram, who on Monday had tendered unconditional and unqualified apologies for their roles in the transfer of Sharma, remained in the CJI's courtroom till 4 pm, the end of the regular working hours of the judicial side of the apex court. They also stayed seated during the one-hour lunch break.

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