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Former Calcutta HC judge C.S. Karnan arrested from Coimbatore

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-06-2017 PTI

Coimbatore: Absconding former Calcutta high court judge C.S. Karnan was on Tuesday arrested from Coimbatore, more than a month after the Supreme Court sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.

A team of West Bengal police arrested the 62-year-old Karnan, who earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the apex court, from a private resort at Malumichampatti, about 6 km from Coimbatore, a top police official said.

The arrest came eight days after Karnan’s tenure as a high court judge ended; as a fugitive from law, no customary farewell was given to him in the Calcutta high court in view of his absence

According to the official, Karnan, who had been staying there for the last few days, resisted the arrest and argued with the police. However, he was taken into custody, he said.

“We have arrested former high court judge Karnan from south India,” a senior officer of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) told PTI in Kolkata. Three police teams from Kolkata were camping in Coimbatore for the last three days and traced Karnan on the basis of his mobile phone calls.

The Coimbatore police gave the technical support to trace his whereabouts, the official said. Karnan will later be taken to Kolkata, the police said.

The arrest came eight days after Karnan’s tenure as a high court judge ended; as a fugitive from law, no customary farewell was given to him in the Calcutta high court in view of his absence. He has been evading arrest since 9 May after being given the jail term by a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar. The court later turned down his pleas for staying the sentence.

Though the former judge arrived in Chennai on the day the Supreme Court gave the verdict, his whereabouts were not known thereafter with Kolkata police continuing the search. Karnan had on 12 May moved the apex court for relief, saying neither the high courts nor their judges, were “subordinate” to it. He had sought recall of the apex court’s order, contending he could not be held guilty of contempt of court.

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Karnan, who enrolled as an advocate with the bar council of Tamil Nadu in 1983, was appointed a judge of the Madras high court in 2009. He was transferred to the Calcutta high court on 11 March 2016. He was transferred from the Madras high court for his repeated allegations and run-ins with its then chief justice and fellow judges.

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