(Image: Supreme Court of India website)

Supreme Court Holds CBI’s Nageswara Rao Guilty Of Contempt, Imposes Rs 1-Lakh Fine

The Supreme Court convicted and punished then acting Central Bureau of Investigation Director M Nageswara Rao and agency’s legal advisor S Bhasuram by imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh each and sentenced them to sit in the courtroom till the rising of the court for committing contempt of its orders.

The apex court held them guilty of its contempt for wilfully disobeying its order by transferring CBI Joint Director AK Sharma, who was probing the Bihar shelter home sexual assault cases, as additional director general of Central Reserve Police Force on Jan. 17.

“In our considered view, it is a case where contempt has been committed by both the then acting CBI Director, MN Rao, and the director prosecution (of the agency),” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, holding them guilty of contempt of court, the bench, comprising justices LN Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, said, “We could not have done anything else.”

It said, “We have heard Rao and Bhasuram for commission of contempt of court and we impose Rs 1 lakh fine and sentence them till the rising of the court”. “Go to one corner of the court and sit down till the rising of this court,” the CJI said.

Before passing the order, the bench told Rao and Bhasuram they have been held guilty of contempt of court and it was not accepting the unconditional and unqualified apology tendered by them. It also gave option to Rao and Bhasuram to say something as the sentence for them could be 30 days in jail.

The bench said though they have tendered an unconditional and unqualified apology, “we don’t agree with the contentions raised by them”.

During the hearing, the bench observed that Rao was aware of the apex court direction that the CBI officer probing the shelter home sexual assault cases cannot be transferred without its consent. “However, his attitude is ‘I have done what I thought was required’, is a blatant contempt of court. If this is not contempt of court then what is,” asked the bench.

The court had on Feb. 7 come down heavily on the CBI for transferring Sharma out of the agency in violation of the court’s order. It had also taken note of the violation of two earlier orders and issued contempt notice to Rao.