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Zee News sting into graft in judiciary incenses Chief Justice who orders CBI probe

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MUMBAI: Zee News might not be shining on the TRP ratings charts but it is certainly shining in terms of high impact news operations.

If Zee News began December with the busting of a currency notes scam in Nashik in western India's Maharashtra state, it has ended January on an equally high news note.

An expose it did on falling judicial standards where it managed to get arrest warrants issued against against the President and Chief Justice of India for a paltry bribe of Rs 10,000 each has led to the Supreme Court ordering the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the allegations.

Zee News Mumbai correspondent Vijay Shekhar was the man behind the sting operation that allegedly exposed the "crumbling law and order standards in the Ahmedabad". Shekhar had a chance meeting with some people in Mumbai who alleged they were issued false arrest warrants by Ahmedabad Courts on the instigation of a business rival.

Taking a cue from the meeting, he approached a couple of lawyers at Ahemedabad to file a false case against four high profile people from Delhi. With just Rs 40, 000 (@ Rs 10,000 per person) Sekhar was able to manage arrest warrants against the President of India and Chief Justice of India, among others.

Money exchanged hands and Sekhar was assured that the magistrate would do the needful. The "arrest warrants" issued by a metropolitan magistrate in Ahmedabad were not handed over to the police in Delhi, but to the Zee News correspondent.

A shocked Chief Justice on Wednesday directed the Gujarat High Court to immediately take action. According to a report filed by news agency Press Trust of India, the Apex Court had earlier issued notices to the Centre, the state of Gujarat, registrar general of Gujarat High Court, the "erring" Metropolitan Magistrate Brahmbhatt and Suresh Jethalal Sanghvi, who purportedly filed a false complaint "and on that basis the warrants".

The bench comprising Chief Justice VN Khare, Justice SB Sinha and Justice S Kapadia has asked the CBI to submit its report by 6 February, the next date of hearing.

The court also issued notices to three advocates -- Iqbal Kataa, Narender Chaudhary and Harish Bhawaniwala -- who acted as middlemen between the complainant and the magistrate.

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