The Supreme Court today held former interim CBI director M Nageshwar Rao guilty of contempt of court and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him. As part of punishment, the court asked him to sit in one corner of the court through the day until the court proceedings end.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Nageshwar Rao’s legal advisor. The Supreme Court came down hard on Nageshwar Rao for transferring officials investigating the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. These transfers were made despite clear orders of the Supreme Court against this.
In his ruling, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “Contempt [of court] has been committed. So there will be a mark on his (Nageshwar Rao’s) career.”
To this, Attorney General KK Venugopal pleased that Rao has an “unblemished” track record of 32 years. “Please kindly adopt merciful approach as he has tendered apologies,” he said.
Earlier, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi asked Rao why the court should not initiate contempt of court proceedings against him for transferring investigation officer (IO) AK Sharma.
The court said the charge against Rao is that despite explicit order passed on November 21, 2018 that joint director AK Sharma would not be moved from the investigation into Muzaffarpur shelter home case, Rao went ahead and transferred him.
Appearing for Nageshwar Rao in the court, Attorney General KK Venugopal said Rao committed a series of mistakes but the court should not start contempt of court proceedings against him. He said Rao has appologised for his mistake and that the mistake was not committed wilfully.
CJI Gogoi said the Supreme Court had passed two orders clearly stating that the investigating officers in the Muzafffarpur shelter home case should not be transferred without the court’s approval.
He said when Nageshwar Rao was the acting CBI chief, he was aware of these orders.
Acting director Rao forgets about the Supreme Court order but in his own file notes that the SC must be informed, the court said, asking if this is not a case of contempt of court.