The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will “go to the root of the matter” and asked conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar to bring on record the names of all those, including Tihar jail officials, whom he bribed to run a “criminal syndicate”, and also the ultimate beneficiaries were.
Senior advocate R. Basant, representing Chandrashekhar, contended before a bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit that jail authorities are intimidating his client and his wife and also money is being extorted from him.
Basant said his client is required in many cases across the country, therefore he had sought transfer to Bengaluru, adding that he knows that the petitioner has no right to choose, but his aging mother stays there.
As the bench queried what their allegations were, Basant said it was of paying a bribe. Asked how did he make the payments, counsel said it was through a person his client was allowed to meet.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate, submitted that Chandrashekhar had conned people of hundreds of crores while sitting inside the jail, and after he was caught, he wanted to continue from another place.
Opposing the conman’s plea for transfer to another jail, Raju submitted that authorities have seized chits and mobiles, and he has impersonated judges and made arrangements everywhere.
Raju added he made Rs 214 crore already through extortion and now it is not conducive for him to operate from Tihar as several corrupt officials who colluded with him have been removed, therefore he wants to shift base to Bengaluru etc.
Informed that Chandrashekhar paid Rs 12.5 crore to jail officials to allow him to run a criminal syndicate from jail, the bench said it wants to get to the root of the matter and also wanted to know whom did Chandrashekhar pay the money and to whom did it go.
The ED said while being inside Tihar jail, he was running a crime syndicate and he was paying Rs 1.5 crore every month to use mobile phones without any hindrance. Also, some jail officials were on his monthly payroll.
The bench told Chandrashekhar’s counsel that their allegation is that his client had jail staff on his payroll through which he ran criminal rackets, which was punctured and now he is agitating.
Basant submitted he can’t say the names right now. He also cited an order passed by a vacation bench of the apex court on June 17, which observed that it would be appropriate to shift Chandrashekhar and his wife from Delhi on account of threat perception
At this, the bench told the counsel: “Get the names tomorrow… We’re not going to shirk away. When will you give the names?”
It noted that the petitioner has claimed to be subjected to threats and victim of an extortion racket run by prison officials.
The bench observed that the petitioner was able to garner support from outsiders to the extent that Rs 12.5 crore could be paid to public servants, therefore whether he was running a syndicate or bribing his way through, it is important to identify the persons.
Fixing the matter for further hearing on July 26, the bench asked Chandrashekhar to submit the names of who paid and to whom the payments were made.
The ED had opposed to the shifting of Chandrashekhar from the Tihar jail and urged the top court to prosecute him under perjury for making false allegations of torture and assault on the jail premises.
Chandrashekhar and his wife are currently lodged in Tihar Jail in cases related to cheating and extortion. They moved the apex court seeking transfer to any other jail citing threat to their lives. The prison authorities have denied allegations that he was assaulted within the jail and that the medical examination did not report any external injuries on him.