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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 18:03 GMT
Indian president arrest warrant probe
India's Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into how an arrest warrant was issued against the country's president and its top judges.

President Kalam
Not going to jail: The president is a famous scientist and national hero
A shocked Chief Justice VN Khare asked India's top police body, the Central Bureau of Investigation, to report its findings in a week.

President Abdul Kalam, two Supreme Court judges - including Chief Justice Khare himself - and the president of India's bar association were issued with the warrants after a case of fraud was filed against them.

An Indian television journalist has told the court he secretly filmed a magistrate accepting 40,000 rupees ($883) to issue the warrants.

The magistrate apparently had not realised who they were, newspaper reports said on Thursday. He has now been suspended from his duties.

Court request

Journalist Vijay Shekhar has handed over to the court videotapes of the incident, which took place in the state of Gujarat.

If this is the state of affairs only God knows what will happen to the country
Chief Justice VN Khare

The court has issued notices to the magistrate and the lawyers who filed the case, asking them for their version of the events, the Press Trust of India reports.

"What is happening in Gujarat? By giving 40,000 rupees you can get a judicial order," Chief Justice Khare is reported as saying.

"If this is the state of affairs only God knows what will happen to the country," he added.

Mr Shekhar said he carried out the sting operation to expose corruption in India's judiciary.

In 2001 India was hit by an arms scandal after a website secretly filmed senior military and defence officials apparently accepting cash from journalists posing as arms dealers.

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