An inquiry by the Allahabad High Court has found that a Rs 10-crore deal with senior advocates had helped former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati secure bail in a rape case, The Times of India reported on Monday.

Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale had sought an investigation into Prajapati’s bail. In his inquiry report, he has revealed that advocate OP Mishra was assigned to the sensitive Protection of Children from Sexual Offences court in violation of norms and by removing judge who was “handling the assignment efficiently” only three weeks before he was set to retire.

“Laxmi Kant Rathaur, who was assigned the Posco jurisdiction on July 18, 2016, was doing very well,” Justice Bhosale is believed to have said in his report, which was accessed by The Times of India. “There was absolutely no justification or reason to change him suddenly and appoint OP Mishra as the Posco judge on April 7, 2017, more so when he was about to retire within three weeks.”

The deal

An investigation, headed by the Intelligence Bureau, found that Rs 5 crore of the Rs 10 crore was shared among three lawyers – office bearers of the Bar Association – who helped ensure Mishra’s appointment as a Posco judge. The remaining amount was shared between Mishra and and district judge Rajendra Singh who posted the advocate to the sensitive Posco court.

The rape case

Prajapati was arrested on March 15 for raping a 35-year-old woman and molesting her minor daughter in 2014. Before his arrest, the Samajwadi Party leader had been absconding for a while after the Supreme Court had directed an FIR against him on February 17.

On April 28, a departmental inquiry was initiated against Mishra, and he was also suspended as a Posco judge for granting bail to Prajapati in the gangrape case. The suspension order came a day after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed Prajapati’s bail.

Here’s how the case unfolded:

  • February 17: UP Police registers FIR against Prajapati
  • March 15: Prajapati gets arrested
  • April 17: OP Mishra gets appointed as a Posco judge
  • April 24: Prajapati applies for bail in Mishra’s court
  • April 25: Prajapati gets bail in the rape case
  • April 27: Allahabad High Court stays Prajapati’s bail
  • April 28: Mishra suspended as a Posco judge