The Kerala high court on Monday refused to stay the case registered against senior lawyer and high court advocates’ association president Saiby Jose Kidangoor over allegations that he collected large amounts of money from clients under the pretext of bribing judges to get favorable orders.
Dismissing the plea to stay the case, justice Kausar Edappath asked the petitioner why he was in a hurry to block the investigation and also turned down his plea to avoid arrest.
“Allegations are serious. It is something that is maligning the entire justice delivery system,” the judge orally observed.
The court also said as an office bearer of a responsible institution, it was also his responsibility to prove his innocence.
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The counsel for petitioner S Sreekumar contended that the petitioner was not running away from his responsibility but the complainant in the case was Kochi police commissioner.
At this point, the court said the court registrar had approached the state police chief and investigation was announced based on his representation.
The court also said the plea to dismiss the case was a “premature one”.
“It is premature. The court cannot admit it and no interim order either. Let truth come out. Let the investigation happen,” the court ruled.
The petitioner said with registration of the case, his career was affected.
The court, however, refused to pass an interim order and posted it for the next week.
A case was registered against the lawyer on Wednesday under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case was based on the complaint filed by the registrar of the high court to the state police chief Anil Kant.
Later, the Kochi police commissioner had formed a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the case.
The charges against Kidangoor surfaced after a film producer, an accused in an alleged sexual assault case involving a film actor, claimed in Kochi that he had to pay money to procure a pre-arrest bail. Kidangoor was his lawyer.
It was also alleged that Kidangoor took the names of three judges of the high court, claiming “he could bribe them easily to get favorable orders.”
After this, three more complaints surfaced and the high court had called back its order to bail the two accused in a case and order a fresh hearing. Kidangoor denied all charges and claimed some laeyers who had lost to him in recent advocates’ association polls were behind the move.
Last week, a group of lawyers moved the union law ministry citing serious allegations against the lawyer and later, it advised the Bar Council to look into the charges.
The Bar Council had served a show-cause notice to him last week.