Chennai/Kolkata/Delhi: Justice Karnan, India’s first sitting High Court judge to be sentenced for contempt, may have left the country and plans to seek the intervention of the President to order his bail on medical grounds, sources close to the judge told News18. However, his lawyer, Mathew Nedumpara said Justice Karnan is “very much in India”.
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Even as cops scrambled to locate him, Karnan moved the Supreme Court through his lawyer on Thursday, challenging his six-month imprisonment.
Meanwhile, a team of Kolkata Police is in Chennai looking for him, and the police sources suspect he may have left for Andhra Pradesh, even Nepal.
“He reached Nepal from Andhra Pradesh. Nepal has excellent flight connectivity. How he reached Nepal is not known yet,” a top source told News18, adding that there was a good chance he had flown to France where his son reportedly works.
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News18 spoke to W Peter Ramesh Kumar, a close aide of Karnan, who said the judge wanted to meet President Pranab Mukherjee over the apex court’s decision.
The judge was last tracked to Andhra Pradesh, where he reportedly handed his phone over to a close aide. Tracking his phone, officially, also requires certain pre-requisite permissions, which is why the probing officers have not taken that step.
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A Kolkata team, headed by DGP (home guard) Raj Kanojia, is coordinating with a police team from Chennai and Andhra Pradesh. All highway police officials have been alerted as the officials reportedly got wind of the time that Karnan left Tamil Nadu.
In an unprecedented ruling, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar held sitting Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan guilty of contempt of “grievous nature” and sentenced him six months of imprisonment on Tuesday.
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The bench stated that Justice Karnan has to be looked at like an “ordinary citizen” of the country and cannot be treated like a sitting judge in this case. Justice Karnan was also found guilty of abusing the judiciary and judicial indiscretion. CJI Khehar noted that “contempt is contempt”.