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Request timing defence on plot
- Defendants try to delink land from quota order

Calcutta. Nov. 20: Justice Bhagabati Prosad Banerjee, who is filing a revision petition in the Supreme Court, will attempt to 'correct the distorted picture' about him that has been presented before the apex court. His efforts would be directed at delinking allotment of the plot to him from his order allowing the chief minister to sanction land in Salt Lake from his quota.

The former high court judge has told his confidants that he has been made a 'scapegoat' and insisted that facts and figures were 'misrepresented to the apex court'. His order, too, has been misinterpreted by the court, Justice Banerjee's aides claimed.

'I alone did not receive a plot of land under the chief minister's quota. There were 32 other high court and Supreme Court judges who received similar plots between 1981 and 1997. Hence, there is no question of abusing my power,' a close associate quoted Justice Banerjee as saying.

Lawyers, preparing papers in Justice Banerjee's defence, claimed there was no link between the allotment of land to him from the chief minister's quota and his order on June 17, 1987.

Explaining this, the aides said that the chain of events leading to his request for a plot stretched as far back as 1984 when he became a judge. Faced with an accommodation problem, he asked the state government to provide him a furnished flat that he was entitled to. The government failed.

He wrote to the government to at least provide rented accommodation as he was living in a cramped house with his relatives. When the state government did not comply, Justice Banerjee rented a flat in Salt Lake on his own and moved there.

In June 1986, the aides added, he wrote to then chief minister Jyoti Basu, urging him to provide a plot in Salt Lake so that he could build his own house. When there was no response from the chief minister, Justice Banerjee wrote to the President later that year, listing his travails and stating that left with no option, he had asked the state government for a plot. He also kept then Union law minister Ashok Sen informed of the developments.

Justice Banerjee's associates say this was long before the Bidhan Nagar Welfare Association filed a petition in 1987, drawing his attention to the alleged violation of the master plan for the city.

'It is evident there was no effort to hide the fact that Justice Banerjee had asked for a plot of land,' an aide said, claiming that when the case landed in front of Justice Banerjee, the people who mattered were aware of his request for a plot. 'There is no impropriety involved in this,' he added.

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