Former Calcutta HC judge put in in jail

June 21, 2017 08:50 PM
Justice Karnan faces media at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

Arrested former Calcutta high court judge CS Karnan was on Wednesday brought to Kolkata from Chennai and taken to the Presidency correctional home (jail).

A team of state CID officers brought him by an Air India flight, a senior police officer said.

Karnan, who had been evading arrest since the May 9 Supreme Court order awarding a six-month jail term, was arrested on Tuesday night by a team of West Bengal CID from a private resort at Malumichampatti, about six km from Coimbatore, where he was “hiding” for the past few days.

“His medical tests were completed at the airport and he was taken straightaway to the jail”, the officer said.

Tight security arrangements were made at the airport where senior police officers, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, were present.

The former high court judge was brought to Chennai from Coimbatore by a private airline past midnight yesterday and later accommodated in the retiring room in the airport complex amid tight security.

Three police teams from Kolkata were camping in Coimbatore and traced Karnan on the basis of his mobile phone calls with the Tamil Nadu Police providing technical support to trace his whereabouts, a senior local police officer had said.

Karnan, who earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the apex court, had retired from service on June 12 as a fugitive.

A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by chief justice of India JS Khehar, had sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.

Three days after the sentence, Karnan had moved the apex court for staying his arrest.

Enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1983, Karnan was apponted a judge of the Madras High Court in 2009. He was transferred to the Calcutta High Court on March 11, 2016.

Justice CS Karnan is this century’s most high-profile prisoner in Presidency jail, which has seen crucial moments from India’s struggle for Independence.

Presidency jail, Kolkata

It was here “dangerous revolutionary” Aurobindo Ghosh attained divine enlightenment and transformed into Rishi Aurobindo, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose held his famous hunger strike during the early 1940s.

It was at a solitary cell called Six Degree, renamed Aurobindo Cell, that Ghosh wrote The Life Divine. Another cell on the first floor of “European Block” is now called Subhas Cell. 

Other prominent prisoners were Sarat Chandra Bose, revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Barindra Kumar Ghosh.

Freedom struggle heroes Kanailal Dutta, Satyendra Nath Bose, Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta and Gopi Mohan Saha were hanged here.

Karnan is India’s first high court judge to land in jail for contempt of court. He retired on June 12.

Earlier in the morning, a Supreme Court vacation bench of justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul rejected Karnan’s bail plea and refused to suspend the sentence.

He was hiding for more than a month until a West Bengal police team arrested him in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday. He was flown to Kolkata on Wednesday from Chennai.

His medical, a mandatory procedure before anyone is interned, was conducted at the NSC Bose international airport compound.

At the airport, he mumbled something to journalists. But none could catch his words


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