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Ganguly case before cabinet

Asok Kumar Ganguly

New Delhi, Jan. 1: The Union cabinet will on Friday decide on whether to include the Bengal government’s allegations against Asok Kumar Ganguly when it sends a presidential reference to the Supreme Court on probing a law intern’s sexual harassment complaint against the retired judge.

Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today said his ministry would place a note before the cabinet tomorrow. “The cabinet will take a call,” he told reporters.

Attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati is said to have recommended only a presidential reference on the harassment allegation and taken “cognisance” of the other allegations against the retired Supreme Court judge, who now heads the Bengal human rights commission.

In a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee in December, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had alleged that Ganguly visited Pakistan in June without informing the Bengal government and at the expense of an NGO.

Mamata, who has demanded that Ganguly step down as the rights panel chairperson, also questioned the ethic of Ganguly’s visit to Delhi in 2012 to settle a sports-related dispute at the request of India’s football federation.

Under the Human Rights Act, 1994, the chairperson or any member of a state rights commission can be removed if the member is found to have taken up “paid employment outside the duties of his office”.

Sources said the Centre had made up its mind to tag these two allegations to the presidential reference on the alleged “unwelcome” sexual behaviour, which Ganguly has denied.

Once the cabinet gives its nod, the reference will be sent for approval to the President who will then forward it to the Chief Justice of India.