The Kerala High Court today refused to stay further proceedings against High Court Bar Association President accused of taking money from his clients under the guise of settling cases allegedly by bribing judges.

Justice Kauser Edapagath refused to grant any interim order on the plea of lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor, who is also an officer-bearer of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association, to quash the FIR registered against him in this connection. Justice Edapagath asked the state government to file its response in the matter. The court said the allegations were of grave nature.

The police had on February 1 registered a case against Kidangoor under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code following a complaint.

The single bench said the allegation that money was collected in the name of judges was a serious one and the investigation was in its primary stage. The court refused to grant interim relief sought to stop his arrest. It also refused to call for the preliminary investigation report.

In a petition filed on Friday, Kidangoor stated the allegations against him were totally "untrue" and the registration of the case was "absolutely unwarranted and illegal." He also claimed that when he declared his candidature for the Advocates Association post, some lawyers targeted him with a campaign to tarnish his reputation.

Meanwhile, a special police team was formed to probe the allegations against the lawyer following the registration of the case. The case was registered based on the preliminary inquiry conducted by the Kochi City Police Commissioner.

Earlier, the High Court Registrar had written to the state police chief to probe the allegations. Also, the Kerala Bar Council has sought an explanation from Kidangoor.

On January 19, the Union Law Ministry forwarded to the Kerala Bar Council a complaint received by it against Kidangoor. A section of lawyers have alleged that the advocate has been collecting lakhs of rupees from his clients and paid kickbacks to certain higher judicial officers. The Bar Council said the vigilance wing of the Kerala High Court has already inquired into the matter and submitted a report before the Full Court.

With PTI Inputs