Insider reveals CIA-type dirty tricks by PNM, UNC
By AZAD ALI
A PLAN was hatched by both the Government and the United National Congress (UNC) to "trap" both Chief Justice Sat Sharma and Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls in the high-profile Basdeo Panday million-dollar London Bank Account trial.
But Sharma ended up falling into the "trap," while McNicolls escaped with some minor "bruises," TnT Mirror has learnt.
Details of the CIA-type of operation was disclosed to Mirror by sources close to both the CJ and McNicolls after Prime Minister Patrick Manning summoned Sharma to a meeting at his Whitehall Office, Port of Spain on Tuesday evening to discuss a complaint made to him by the Chief Magistrate that the CJ had tried to influence him in his decision in the Panday Integrity case.
A source close to the Chief Justice said during the Panday trial, Sharma received certain confidential information about a million-dollar land deal allegedly involving McNicolls and a home construction company.
The CJ was told that a high ranking Government official was behind a move to get Home Construction Limited (HCL), a subsidiary of the CL Financial Group of Companies to re-purchase a piece of land the Chief Magistrate bought some months ago in Trincity.
The Chief Magistrate reportedly changed his mind about the purchase and asked HCL to buy back the million-dollar property.
But the company was not interested in taking back the land.
The information was allegedly to get the CJ to confront McNicolls about the deal because he was involved in the former Opposition Leader's case, and to link him with possible interference with the Chief Magistrate's decision.
But when the "mark" started to "buss" on the UNC election platform about a land deal involving the Chief Magistrate after Panday was convicted, jailed for two years and fined $20,000, McNicolls wrote the Prime Minister to clear his name from the allegations and allegedly "sink" the Chief Justice.
"The government would welcome any complaint about the Chief Justice since they have been trying to remove him from office without success," the source noted.
Former UNC Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who was speaking at a UNC meeting titled, "Abuse of Power", in Debe, South Trinidad after Panday's release from prison three weeks ago on bail, raised questions about the McNicolls land deal and asked a number of questions about the transaction.
The Sharma source said when it appeared that the UNC was trying to imply that the Chief Magistrate was part of a government plot to jail Panday and further alleging he was involved in a questionable land deal, McNicolls rushed and wrote the Prime Minister a few days ago alleging that the CJ attempted to interfere in the former prime minister's trial, to clear his name.
On Monday night, again at a UNC meeting, this time in Rio Claro, the Chief Magistrate again came under attack from UNC MP Kelvin Ramnath about a land deal.
The source went on to explain that the Prime Minister, who had McNicolls' complaint since last Friday, chose to call the Chief Justice mere hours before he was due to depart for Europe to attend a CARICOM Summit in Spain, to make it appear as an important issue for him to stay back.
A Whitehall statement said Manning had to delay his departure from the country for 24 hours.
The source charged that all this was part of the master plan to "nail" Sharma.
The UNC, on the other hand, was also allegedly trying dirty tricks to "trap" McNicolls by getting an official from CL Financial to offer him a 10 per cent down-payment for the property, which the Chief Magistrate reportedly turned down.
McNicolls reportedly "smelled a rat", fearing that the UNC could have used that payment against him if his decision was not favourable to Panday.
The UNC is alleging that after Panday's jailing, the Chief Magistrate received the 10 per cent down payment.
According to an inside source, the CJ denied McNicolls' allegation when he met with the Prime Minister saying he was again being "set up" as in the case of Dr. Vijay Naraynsingh, when he was accused of misconduct by the AG and the DPP to drop the murder charge against the top vascular surgeon.
The source said Sharma is seeing this other matter as a plot to remove him from the post of Chief Justice.
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