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Post for Chidambaram bail case judge

Justice Sunil Gaur has been appointed the chairperson of the appellate tribunal for prevention of money laundering

  • Published 29.08.19, 2:27 AM
  • Updated 29.08.19, 2:27 AM
  • 2 mins read
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On August 20, two days before his retirement, Justice Gaur had said former finance minister P. Chidambaram was “prima facie the kingpin” in corruption cases and rejected his anticipatory bail plea (PTI)

Justice Sunil Gaur, who retired last week from Delhi High Court, has been appointed the chairperson of the appellate tribunal for prevention of money laundering, sources in the finance ministry told The Telegraph.

On August 20, two days before his retirement, Justice Gaur had said former finance minister P. Chidambaram was “prima facie the kingpin” in corruption cases and rejected his anticipatory bail plea. Chidambaram was arrested the next day.

“Facts of the case prima facie reveal that petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case. Law enforcing agencies cannot be made ineffective by putting legal obstacles,” Justice Gaur had said.

A government source said on Wednesday: “Justice Gaur will take over as the chairperson of the appellate tribunal on September 23, a day after incumbent chairperson Justice Manmohan Singh retires.”

PTI reported late on Wednesday night that no government notification or order appointing Gaur as chairman had been made public so far but sources said the appointment had been cleared.

The appellate tribunal for prevention of money laundering comes under the department of revenue in the finance ministry that had been headed by Chidambaram.

In January this year, controversy had broken out when it emerged that then Supreme Court judge, Justice A.N. Sikri, had been nominated by the Narendra Modi government as president/member in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT). The stand of Sikri, the then second senior-most Supreme Court judge, had titled the balance in the removal of Alok Verma as CBI director.

On the very same day the news of the appointment was reported, Justice Sikri had withdrawn his consent to the post-retirement post.

Some social media users had then wondered why a cooling-off period should not be put in place before judges can take up post-retirement responsibilities.

During his long legal career, Justice Gaur had heard several high-profile cases. He had also passed an order clearing the decks for the prosecution of Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, in the National Herald case.

Last week, Justice Gaur had denied anticipatory bail to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland chopper case.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Wednesday: “I urge every Indian to look within. The individual concerned and the government should also introspect as to how their actions are now being viewed.”

Justice Gaur could not be contacted by this newspaper for comment.