By Sanjay Kumar, Director Vigilance (Police)
This is a successful trap case of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Andhra Pradesh, wherein a Sessions Judge was trapped, prosecuted and convicted for demanding and accepting illegal gratification to show favour to an accused in a murder case. Shri S. Janardhan Rao was working as the III Metropolitan Sessions Judge in the year 1996 and his wife, a teacher was living in Hanamkonda of Warangal District along with their deaf and dumb son. Shri Rao had earlier worked as Special Sessions Judge for ACB and SPE cases in Hyderabad.
Shri Janardhan Rao was appointed as a Special Judge by the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh to ensure speedy disposal of long pending Criminal Revision and Miscellaneous cases. One of the cases before him was SC 186/89, a murder case with many accused. Of them, Shri Eashwar Singh and Rajinder Singh were the principal accused. A Police Constable, Mohd. Anwar Bin Moin was attached to the court to assist the Judge. SC 186/89 had reached the final stage and was posted for final hearing on 4th September,1996.
At this stage, the Sessions Judge sent Police Constable Moin to above mentioned accused with a message that the fate of the case is 50:50 and the result is in his hands and if he is given Rs. 6 lakhs, he would acquit both the accused. As Rajinder Singh neither had the money nor was willing to pay the same, Eashwar Singh, Accused-1 in the case agreed to pay Rs. 3 lakhs but wanted confirmation that the money was actually being demanded by the Judge.
When this was communicated to the Judge by the Police Constable, the Judge indicated that "codeword" would be that he would pronounce in open court on September 4, 1996, "that all cases are being adjourned till September 6, 1996". On hearing this code word, Eashwar Singh should proceed to Hanamkonda and hand over Rs. 3 lakhs to the wife of the Judge. At this stage, Eashwar Singh approached Anti-Corruption Bureau to take action against the Judge.
He also gave a written complaint. He was informed that without the permission of the Hon'ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh, no action could be taken against the Judicial Officer by the ACB. Thereupon, Eashwar Singh met the Registrar (Vigilance) of A.P. High Court and also the Hon'ble Chief Justice. The latter gave permission to ACB to take necessary action in the matter.
On September 4th, 1996 as earlier indicated to Eashwar Singh, the Session Judge loudly proclaimed in the Court that all cases were to be adjourned till September 6, 1996. As scheduled, Eashwar Singh proceeded to Hanamkonda along with Moin and Rs. 3 lakhs in Rs. 500/- denomination currency notes.
These notes were chemically treated by Dy.SP/ ACB observing all formalities. Eashwar Singh handed over the money to the wife of the Judge through Moin, who in turn handed it over to her son who kept it hidden in flush tank in the toilet. The raiding party duly recovered the same from the hidden place after observing all formalities.
The ACB has charge-sheeted the accused Sessions Judge in the case.