Law

Supreme Court Agrees to Take Up Kalikho Pul’s Corruption Allegations

Wife’s letter to Chief Justice to be treated as writ petition, bench to consider the matter on Thursday.

Dangwimsai Pul, first wife of the late Arunachal chief minister Kalikho Pul, and her son at The Wire's office in New Delhi. Credit: Hina Fathima

Dangwimsai Pul, first wife of the late Arunachal chief minister Kalikho Pul, and her son at The Wire’s office in New Delhi. Credit: Hina Fathima

New Delhi: In a significant development Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar has decided that the letter by Dangwimsai Pul, wife of late Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, seeking a probe into the corruption allegations he made in a suicide note last August, be treated as a writ petition.

The matter is now listed for hearing on Thursday.

The bench comprising Justices A.K. Goel and Uday Lalit will hear this writ petition (criminal) listed in her name. Dangwimsai Pul’s  letter seeks a direction to register a First Information Report on the basis of the 60-page suicide note Kalikho Pul wrote in which he levelled serious allegations of attempted bribery against top judges of the apex court and lawyers in the case relating to the imposition of president’s rule in the state in January 2016.

The note – with the names of those charged with corruption redacted – was first made public by The Wire on February 8.

According to informed sources, the CJI passed an administrative order on Tuesday night treating the letter as a writ petition. The court registry informed Dangwimsai Pul about the CJI’s order on the administrative side and that the matter will be heard on Thursday. It was pointed out that by an administrative order the CJI cannot give a direction for registration of an FIR as it has to be done only through a judicial order. Accordingly, the letter – now a writ petition – is listed for hearing tomorrow.

Last week, Dangwimsai Pul released an unredacted version of her husband’s suicide note at a press conference here and also the contents of her letter to the CJI seeking his intervention.

In her letter, Dangwimsai wrote: “Through this letter I am requesting you to grant permission for the registration of an FIR on the basis of the allegations of corruption contained in the suicide diary of my late husband.” She enclosed a copy of the suicide note to Justice Khehar

She said “I am sure that you (Justice Khehar) will have the matter placed before the appropriate judges in accordance with the judgment in the Veeraswami case for consideration of my request”.

The letter brought to Justice Khehar’s notice the suicide note which contains many allegations of corruption in Arunachal Pradesh as well as in the judiciary and in particular “against two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, who were parties to the judgment, which quashed president’s rule and to the unseating of my husband.”

She wanted the CJI to consider her husband’s suicide note as a dying declaration and to treat it as evidence for registration of an FIR and the ordering of a probe. As the allegations contained in the suicide note are very serious and against judges at the highest level, she wanted the matter probed by the CBI. She alleged that her family is getting threats from the Arunachal Pradesh government and that she was advised not to hold the press conference in which she made the late chief minister’s suicide note public.

Dangwimsai Pul told the CJI, “Ever since the (suicide) note surfaced in the media, my family including myself, my children and relatives have been subjected to various threats from different quarters.”

Pul, who was unseated as chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh by an adverse order of the Supreme Court in July 2106,  committed suicide on August 9. His body was found hanging in his official residence. A 60-page suicide note signed by Pul  titled “Mere Vichar”, or ‘My Thoughts’, was found by his body. Copies of the note were sent to the authorities but nothing was heard about its contents after that – until The Wire published the letter earlier this month.