The Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered a CBI investigation into an alleged financial scam of over Rs 7.5 crores in a period of ten years from the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund.
The court ordered the CBI probe after looking into petitions filed by lawyers practising before various courts and members of the Kerala Bar Council.
Justice Sunil Thomas heard the case and said that the fraud should be probed by the CBI given the gravity of the offence.
“After considering the complexity of the case and the fact that the matter is of a general importance, applicable to interest of all the lawyers as a community who have a right to know how their contribution was misused, to sustain the faith of the public in the Bar Council as well as the Advocate’s Welfare Fund Trust, the deep and pervasive nature of the crime involved, the matter needs investigation by a specialised agency,” he said.
He added that what shocks the conscience of everybody is that during the long period of ten years, no records were maintained or retained.
“Shockingly, nobody verified the records and that during this long period, the records were not even audited, even though Trustee Committee was under an obligation to get the records audited. This indifference from the Trustee Committee has led to this enormous squandering of money.”
This fund was set up to give retirement benefits and social security to advocates in Kerala.
The source of the fund includes voluntary donations or contributions made by the Bar Council of India or by any other Bar Associations besides all sums by way of sale of stamps under Section 22 of the Kerala Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act.