Even though Congress leaders have been claiming that Justice Sunil Gaur will take charge in September, there has been no government notification of his appointment as the chairperson of PMLA Appellate Tribunal.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government has appointed Delhi High Court judge Sunil Gaur, who had rejected former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media Case earlier this month, as chairperson of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Appellate Tribunal, the Congress has claimed, alleging a quid pro quo. Justice Sunil Gaur had retired three days after he delivered the verdict on August 20 denying relief to Chidambaram. While there is no official notification of his appointment so far, Congress leaders tagged media reports claiming that he will take charge in September.
Justice Gaur, in his judgment order, had noted that the facts presented by the prosecution suggest that “Chidambaram is the ‘kingpin’ and key conspirator in the INX Media case”. The judgment further added that prima facie Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation was important for an effective probe.
Chidambaram had approached the Supreme Court immediately after the HC verdict, however, his plea was not listed for hearing. The high court verdict had led to the 73-year-old leader’s late-night dramatic arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21. He has been in CBI custody since then.
“A telling story on state of justice in ‘New India’!” Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet tagging a report by News18.
Another Congress spokesperson and Supreme Court advocate Brijesh Kalappa also raised questions over the government’s reported move. In a sarcasm-laden tweet, Kalappa congratulated Justice Gaur for his new job. “Which is the only job in the world in which you get highest marks if you copy-paste the answer sheet provided to you? Judgeship. BTW Heartfelt congratulations to Justice Sunil Gaur for his appointment as Chairman, Appelate PMLA within a week of his retirement,” he said.
In 2018, Gaur, 62, had also ordered Associated Journal Ltd, the publisher of National Herald newspaper, to vacate the Herald House building situated at ITO in New Delhi. The Supreme Court, however, put the verdict on hold. The matter is still pending in the top court.
Justice Gaur, who was designated as a permanent judge in 2012, also handled the money laundering case against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.