Judge who resigned after Mecca Masjid blast verdict under vigilance probe for ‘undue haste’ in land dispute case

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New Delhi | Published: April 19, 2018 11:16:42 AM

The unexpected resignation of special NIA court judge K Ravinder Reddy on Monday sparked a controversy with some sections seeing a link between the acquittal of all accused and his abrupt decision.

NIA judge Ravindra Reddy under Vigilance probe. (Source: ANI)

The unexpected resignation of special NIA court judge K Ravinder Reddy on Monday soon after delivering the controversial verdict in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case had sparked a controversy with some sections seeing a link between the acquittal of all accused and his abrupt decision. While the judge had cited personal reasons behind his decision to resign, a report in The Indian Express says that Reddy’s resignation comes amid a charge of “undue haste” against him in granting anticipatory bail to an accused in a land dispute case.

The complaint filed on December 11, 2017, before the Registrar through Advocate T Sriranga Rao, on behalf of Krishna Reddy, a resident of Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills, claimed that Reddy, the then Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions court judge, issued the bail order when he was in charge for just two days — December 4 and 5 — of the Seventh Additional Metropolitan Sessions Court. The inquiry is being conducted by the Registrar (Vigilance) of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, The Indian Express reported.

Krishna Reddy further stated that the judge went against “settled practice” by granting relief to the accused who previously failed five times to obtain anticipatory bail from various courts. “On December 4, the Public Prosecutor was not present as she was on leave and (the) Judge was seriously interested in hearing (the) matter and asked for in-charge Public Prosecutor to come and present (the) argument… the case (was) heard on December 5 and bail was granted on the same day even though (the) petitioner did not disclose any of the petitions filed by him earlier and orders passed in those petitions,” the complaint stated.

The complaint also stated, “generally the procedure adopted… is to hear the case and post for orders next day. But the judge chose to pass the orders on the same day.”

“It is submitted that the curiosity shown by the Learned Judge in taking up the bail petition on war footing itself is sufficient to arrive at a conclusion that he was eager and highly interested to dispose it of, for the reasons best known to him,’’ it stated.

“I state that it is the settled practice that the incharge officer only takes up urgent matters like remands or extension of remands, etc., but never seen a judge made incharge for two days hearing an anticipatory bail in such a hurried manner…,” it stated.

In an interview to The Indian Express, High Court Registrar C Manavendranath Roy said he could not disclose any information without the permission of the Chief Justice. Judge Reddy’s official residence was found locked and calls to him went unanswered.

Krishna Reddy had lodged a complaint at the local police station in June 2016 against 10 persons (FIR 1020/2016) for allegedly cheating him of property worth Rs 150 crore. After investigating the case for a year the police added the name of one G P Reddy as the main accused in the FIR on July 6, 2017.

As per the Indian Express, the accused G P Reddy filed a series of bail pleas at various courts:

* On July 7, 2017, he filed a plea with the third additional chief metropolitan magistrate’s court. While the hearing was pending, he filed another petition in the High Court seeking quashing of proceedings against him. But the High Court dismissed the petition with Justice T Sunil Chowdary directing police to follow established procedure.

* G P Reddy filed another petition in the High Court, which was dismissed on August 2, 2017, by Justice Dr B Siva Sankara Rao who directed police to continue investigations.

* On August 9, G P Reddy filed a fresh petition for anticipatory bail before the seventh additional metropolitan sessions court. “My advocate pointed it out to the court during hearing that G P Reddy did not disclose that he also filed a petition in the HC. He withdrew the petition on August 23 and also withdrew his petition in HC,’’ Krishna Reddy stated in his complaint.

* Dismissing yet another petition filed by G P Reddy for anticipatory bail, the Seventh Additional Magistrate Sessions Judge observed that as the investigation was still pending, it was a not a fit case to grant bail.

* On November 24, 2017, G P Reddy filed another anticipatory bail application in the same court. On November 30, the judge was transferred and the ninth additional metropolitan magistrate sessions judge was in charge temporarily of the court. But the judge went on leave on December 4 and 5, and Reddy was made in charge of the court.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the complainant’s advocate T Sriranga Rao said, “The Chief Justice had directed the Registrar to conduct a probe against Ravinder Reddy through the Vigilance Department three months ago after we filed the petition. The probe is still going on. The judge was in charge of the additional magistrate sessions court No.9 for two days and he granted bail in undue haste. He ignored specific orders issued by the High Court while dismissing the anticipatory bail applications filed by the petitioner. The High Court dismissed the anticipatory bail applications three times and the seventh additional magistrate sessions judge dismissed it twice but he granted bail.’’

At least three presiding officers in the lower judiciary are facing charges of corruption in the state. On Monday, hours after delivering the verdict on the 11-year-old blast case, Judge Reddy put in his papers citing personal reasons.

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