AG K K Venugopal files contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: Attorney General K K Venugopal on Monday filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan for allegedly scandalising the court with his recent tweets on the appointment of former interim chief of CBI M Nageswara Rao.

The contempt petition refers to the February 1 tweets by Bhushan in which he had allegedly said that the government appeared to have misled the apex court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of meeting of the high-powered Selection Committee headed by the PM.

Venugopal said in his plea that through his tweets, Bhushan appeared to have deliberately intended to cast aspersions on the “integrity and honesty” of the Attorney General who had placed the minutes of the meeting before the apex court during the February 1 hearing.  On February 1, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing a petition filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the Centre’s decision to appoint Rao, an IPS officer, as the interim CBI director.

Venugopal has said in his petition that Bhushan’s tweets “scandalise or tend to scandalise and lower or tend to lower the authority of this court”. He said that during the hearing on February 1, he had handed over to the bench the minutes of meeting of the high-powered committee held on January 9 and January 10.

“A mere reading of the said minutes would establish that the high powered committee, at the said meeting, had taken a decision to permit the Central government to post a suitable officer to look after the duties of the Director CBI till the appointment of a new Director,” the plea said. The petition said that signature of all the three members of the committee – PM Modi, apex court judge Justice AK Sikri (as a nominee of CJI) and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge – was affixed in the decision taken by the panel.

Venugopal said Bhushan, in one of his tweets on February 1, had said, “I have just confirmed personally from the leader of opposition Mr Kharge that no discussion or decision in HPC meet was taken re appt of Nageswara Rao as interim Director of CBI. The govt appears to have misled the court and perhaps submitted fabricated minutes of the HPC meeting.”

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