KATHMANDU, Feb 8: In his crusade against judges allegedly involved in corrupt practices, Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana has summoned Kathmandu District Court (KDC) judge Babukaji Baniya to the Judicial Council (JC) for investigating into a bribery case he faces.
Judge Baniya was summoned to the JC after a KDC staff, Bholanath Chalise, indicted the judge in a bribery case.
Sources claimed that the judge was summoned to the JC after the court staffer Chalise recorded his statement to a team from the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) that he was supposed to share the bribe he received with Judge Baniya.
"Baniya cannot continue his judicial function before the JC gives him a clean chit in relation to the controversy," source at the SC told Republica. A team of the CIAA had arrested Chalise while receiving Rs 500,000 as bribe from a client of a road accident case last week.
Sources also claimed that Chalise said in his statement that he received the amount as per the instruction of the judge. He argued that he should not be punished for the offense as he was only following orders and that he does not have the capacity to decide such cases. Chalise was arrested by the CIAA team outside the KDC premises.
Chief Justice Rana has been expediting his campaign against corruption in the judiciary. Baniya is the third district judge arrested on the allegation of irregularities. Other two district judges Bishwa Mangal Aatreya of Lalitpur District Court and Omkar Prasad Upadhayay of Palpa District Court have also been facing investigations.
The JC has formed an inquiry panel led by Supreme Court Justice Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai to investigate the allegations against Upadhayay and Aatreya.
The JC has also been investigating into cases of Chief Judge of Biratnagar High Court, Kulratna Bhurtel, and other judges in relation to their involvement in supporting the accused of the 33-kg gold smuggling case. Judges Saranga Subedi, Thir Bahadur Karki, Umesh Kumar Singh and Umesh Raj Paudel were few days ago summoned to the JC for allegedly delivering erroneous orders to release the accused of the 33-kg gold smuggling scam.