Justice Ranjan Gogoi. (Source: PTI)

Delhi Lawyer Utsav Bains Claims Conspiracy To Frame Chief Justice of India

Till 24 hours ago it read like one of many conspiracy theories that energise social media. But now that Utsav Bains has filed an affidavit and has been asked by a Supreme Court bench to make a personal appearance in court on Wednesday, his assertions need reporting. And he claims the sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice of India are a conspiracy to frame the judge.

Bains is a Delhi-based lawyer. His twitter profile states he read law at Harvard Law School, earning his degree in 2014. Last year, a Rajasthan court sentenced Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment for raping a minor girl. Bains represented the victim.

The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of his court. The accusations became public on Saturday, April 20, and prompted a three-judge bench, led by the Chief Justice himself, to lament them as false and an attack on the independence of the judiciary. That the Chief Justice himself chose to call this special hearing in a matter involving allegations against him, and that no due process has been followed to investigate these allegations has been criticised by several senior lawyers. On Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blogged suggesting the media had aided the “mass intimidation of judges”.

And late that night Bains posted a blog on Facebook stating that he was “offered (a) bribe to help frame (the) CJI in the sexual harassment case by lawyering and organising a Press Conference against the CJI…”.

Also read: Chief Justice Of India Faces Sexual Harassment Charges - The Story So Far

Bains has now recounted his claims in an affidavit. Here’s what it says…

On April 4, 2019, at 5 p.m., he was visited by an unknown person Ajay who claimed to be a relative of the woman who has made sexual harassment allegations against the chief justice.

Ajay wanted Bains to represent the complainant pro bono. Bains says he was shocked to hear the allegations and was willing to represent the complainant but as Ajay continued to narrate the story, Bains found several loopholes in it.

Bains then asked to meet the complainant but Ajay refused to arrange that. He wouldn’t clearly answer questions regarding his relationship with the complainant either, the affidavit states.

Then Ajay suddenly changed tack, Bains claims, and offered the lawyer Rs 50 lakh to represent the complainant and organise a press conference.

When Bains refused the offer, Ajay upped the amount to Rs 1.5 crore, the affidavit says. Bains asked Ajay to leave the office.

After which Bains enquired about the allegations and sought information from “reliable sources”.

These unnamed sources said “certain ‘Fixers’, who claim to be engaged in illegally managing judgments in exchange for cash, are behind this plot as the Hon’ble CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers.”

On April 19, Bains says he met another “reliable person” who claimed that a corporate figure wanted a favourable judgment from a Supreme Court judge but was unsuccessful and also failed in transferring the case from that judge’s court. After which this corporate leader “ganged up” with an alleged fixer to allegedly frame the chief justice and pressure him to resign, the affidavit states.

The affidavit continues this conspiracy vein and states that the business leader and the fixer both intended to target the Chief Justice and the other Supreme Court justices. It then states this “reliable person” informed Bains that the fixer has in the past sought a favourable court order for an airline operator allegedly linked to a mafia boss.

Bains was told that the fixer was “running a “cash for judgments” racket in cahoots with businessmen and politicians and had exercised considerable influence for years, which ultimately was brought to an end by the present Chief justice…”

When he learned of all this Bains says, in the affidavit, that he sought to meet the Chief Justice that day itself, but failed. The next day he read of the sexual harassment allegations.

While he has filed the affidavit in his capacity as an officer of the court, Bains says he will not reveal names of sources who shared this information with him as they were privileged communication.

He also says his life “will come under imminent danger after filing of this affidavit” and that he has been informed “he might be killed in a planned road accident or poisoned by untraceable poison or killed in a way that the murder will look like a plain accident or be framed in a false case of rape etcetera to tarnish his image by those who will be hurt” by the affidavit.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Deepak Gupta, convened today in the matter of sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice of India. But the hearing was adjourned in minutes and notice issued to Bains to appear in court tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24.

Also read: Supreme Court Bar Association Says Sexual Harassment Allegation Hearing Against CJI Was Violation Of Procedure