TT Epaper
The Telegraph
You
 
CIMA Gallary

Ganguly writes to CJ, denies intern’s claims, hints at ‘powerful interests’

Calcutta, Dec 23 (PTI): Former Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly, accused by a law intern of sexually harassing her, on Monday wrote to the Chief Justice of India, complaining that the Supreme Court “did not address me correctly” and blamed ”powerful interests” of trying to tarnish his image because of certain judgments delivered by him.

In an eight-page letter to Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ganguly, who is under pressure to step down as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, denied allegations of sexually harassing or making unwelcome advances to the woman intern.

“I have been distressed by some recent happenings. I am anguished that the Supreme Court under your Lordship did not address me correctly,” Justice Ganguly said in his letter, which he said was also being forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee.

The CJI's office in Delhi was not available for comments as he is out of town on vacation.

A three-judge Supreme Court panel has opined that the statement of the intern, both written and oral, had prima facie disclosed “an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature)” by the judge with her in the Le Meridien hotel room on December 24 last year.

In his letter, Justice Ganguly alleged “There is a concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgments against powerful interests.”

He said: “I see in the whole game a palpable design to malign me at the instance of interested quarters.”

Justice Ganguly was part of a bench that had delivered various orders in the 2G telecom-spectrum allocation scam, including scrapping of 122 licenses granted by Centre to telecom companies.

Questioning the validity of the panel, he argued that since the intern was not on the rolls of the Supreme Court and he was a retired judge, the committee was “not required to be constituted”.

“No complaint was ever made before Supreme Court or before your Lordship in any form by the intern at any time prior to the formation of the judges' committee and presumably at the direction of the committee she gave her statement,” he said.

Complaining against the conduct of the officials of the court, he said as soon as he entered he was surrounded by a posse of officers which was unbecoming of the institution.

“I was treated as a person in captivity,” he rued.

“First of all, I wish to make it clear that I never harassed nor did I make any unwelcome advances to any female intern. The very suggestion of it, to say the least, is out of tune with my personal conduct,” Justice Ganguly said in his letter.

“I have made helpful contributions to many interns both male and female. To this date, I am treated with unbound respect and regards by them,” he said.

Ganguly said a newspaper report dated December 12 without any verification could certainly not have been the basis of a petition by the Attorney General on which the Chief Justice was reported to have acted.

“Thus the stated reason that the committee was set up to find out whether the judge was a sitting judge cannot be accepted because the blog expressly disclosed retired judge,” he said.

In her affidavit to the panel, the intern stated that the judge had called her to the hotel room on Christmas eve to complete a report relating to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

“The judge informed me that the AIFF report had to be submitted the next morning and asked me to stay at the hotel and work all night. I declined and told him that I had to finish the work quickly and return to the PG accomodation,” Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising had quoted from the intern's statement.

At one stage, the judge took out a bottle of red wine. ”He also said that since I had had a long day, I should go into his bedroom and relax while drinking some wine,” the intern said.

“You are very beautiful,” the judge went on to tell her. ”I immediately rose from my seat, but before I had a chance to respond to the statement, he caught hold of my arm, saying, you know that I am attracted to you, don't you? ... but I really like you, I love you. When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me,” the intern said.

The judge strongly denied the intern’s allegations.