CBI arrests senior judge of Tis Hazari
The judge has been sent to 14 days judicial custody while the remaining two accused are in police custody for two days, CBI said on Thursday.
The arrested persons have been identified as Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal, a senior Civil Judge (West) Tis Hazari court, her husband Alok Lakhanpal who is a defence lawyer in the infamous Mercedes hit-and-run case and Vishal Mehan who was acting as local commissioner appointed by the judge. Sources said that Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal was supposed to be promoted as Additional District Judge.
They all were arrested while taking bribe of Rs 5 lakh allegedly to strike a deal in connection with a disputed property case that Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal was adjudicating. According to sources, of the alleged deal of Rs 20 lakh deal, Rs 5 lakh had been paid to the accused judge, out of which she had given Rs 1 lakh to Vishal Mehan who was acting as a middleman.
“The complaint received on Tuesday alleged that in a disputed property matter of Saraswati Garden in Kirti Nagar, the matter was being heard by Rachna Lakhanpal. On Thursday, the order was supposed to come and a day before, ie. on Wednesday, the bribe money was recovered from her residence,” the source said.
Sources also added that the CBI raided the Lakhanpals’ residence at Gulabi Bagh judicial complex in the early hours on Thursday and recovered Rs 94 lakh in cash that were hidden in different rooms including their children’s room.
“Two locker keys and other incriminating material including documents were also recovered,” the source added.
The accused judge, who has been sent to Tihar Jail had appointed Vishal Mehan, an advocate as Local Commissioner for conducting an inspection of the disputed property and he was supposed to submit his report. He allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2 lakh for himself as well as Rs 20 lakh for the judge for deciding the matter in favour of the complainant.
During interrogation, Mehan disclosed that the alleged bribe amount was meant to be handed over to the accused judge. Subsequently, the bribe money was delivered by the advocate to the said judge at her residence, out of which she had kept Rs 4 lakh and gave Rs 1 lakh to him. The alleged bribe money of Rs 5 lakh was recovered by the CBI.
After their production at Tis Hazari court, Rachna was sent to 14 days judicial custody as CBI feared that she may influence the witnesses and may tamper with the evidences.