Mumbai: After being exonerated of corruption charges to being reinstated by the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, it seems controversial bureaucrat Radheshyam Mopalwar’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better. Now, the Bombay High Court has accepted his allegations of ‘bias’ against a special judge in an extortion trial.
The bench of Justice Anant Badar allowed a plea moved by Mopalwar seeking the transfer of trial from one special judge to some other designated court in Thane. Mopalwar had petitioned the HC alleging bias by special Judge VY Jadhav, presiding over a court designated to hear cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA). The court was trying the extortion case filed by Mopalwar against a private detective and his wife, who allegedly demanded Rs 10 crore from the bureaucrat. He has claimed that the duo threatened to make public certain audio clips which could defame him and his ‘political bosses.’
In his plea, Mopalwar (in pic), the managing director of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), alleged that the court was biased against him since the judge did not grant the prosecution ample time to argue over the bail pleas moved by the accused in the case. He claimed that the presiding judge heard the submissions of the accused in a hurry and also insisted the prosecutor complete his arguments beyond the court’s working time.
Having considered the submissions, Justice Badar said, “The state of mind of a person who entertains the apprehension of bias and reasonable perception of the affected parties are relevant consideration in such matters. This, in order to ensure the continuance of public confidence in the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary.”
The bench said the special judge seemed to have no idea of the ‘sensitivity and importance’ of the matter. “Therefore, in my view, the circumstances and the allegations as demonstrated before me, point out reasonable apprehension of bias against Mopalwar, who had also appointed a watching lawyer. I am of the view that the apprehension of Mopalwar that he will not have fair and impartial trial, appears to be honest,” Justice Badar said.
Accordingly, the bench transferred the trial to another designated court.