A two-member team of the All India Trinamool Congress including the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Lok Sabha MP Mohua Moitra met President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday and sought the removal of the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta. They alleged that the senior lawyer met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Suvendu Adhikari in violation of established norms.
“Various news reports, containing videos and photographs, have reported a private one-on-one meeting between Suvendu Adhikari, a politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party and an accused in serious criminal offences and Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India. This meeting took place at Mehta’s official residence. Such a meeting, between one of the highest serving law officers of India – the Solicitor General, who is also appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and an accused person being investigated by the same agency, raises extremely serious doubts of impropriety,” Roy said at a press conference after their meeting with the President.
“The Solicitor General of India, being the second highest law officer of the Republic of India after the Attorney General of India, advises the Government of India and its various organs in crucial legal matters. Thus, a meeting between an accused person in grave criminal offences and the Solicitor General of India, who is advising the very investigating agencies who are investigating and prosecuting such an accused person, reeks of impropriety and is a blatant conflict of interest,” Roy said.
Roy was referring to the Narada case where Adhikari is accused in the 2016 Narada sting operation case, and Mehta is representing the CBI in the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court in the agency’s probe against senior TMC leaders in the case.
“This incident took place on 1 July 2021, when Mr Adhikari after meeting the Home Minister, Mr Amit Shah at his Krishna Menon Marg residence went immediately to the residence of the Solicitor General of India at No 10, Akbar Road. He left the Learned Solicitor General’s official residence after around 30 minutes,” the Trinamool Ccongress MP said.
“We therefore have reasons to believe that such a meeting has been organised to influence the outcome of the criminal cases where Adhikari is an accused person, using the high offices of the Solicitor General. We state that the act of the Solicitor General to provide an opportunity for an audience to Suvendu Adhikari is not only indicative of grave impropriety but also raises troubling doubts about his professional integrity,” Roy said.
Though Mehta and Adhikari have denied that the meeting took place but the TMC was not ready to believe this. Mehta said on Friday that Adhikari, the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal, came to his residence-cum-office in Delhi at 3 p.m. on Thursday but left without meeting the SG, who was tied up in previous engagements, and expressed his inability to meet the Nandigram MLA.
“Our All-India secretary Abhishek Banerjee demanded to release all the CCTV footage and make it public, so that people also can see what has actually happened but that has not been made public still now. Two days have passed and we have reasons to believe that the footage might be tampered with,” Roy added.
“The Solicitor General’s conduct must be investigated and pending such inquiry, he must tender his resignation,” the letter submitted to the President said.
“It is deeply unfortunate that the Solicitor General continues to remain defiant and his defence is without corroboration, unconvincing and undignified, if not spurious. The majesty of the office of the Solicitor General of India must be protected so that public faith in the criminal justice system is not shaken. The sanctity of the office of the Solicitor General of India cannot be seen to be compromised. Public interest, integrity and neutrality of the office of the Solicitor General of India are required to be protected at all costs. We, therefore, approach Your Excellency to initiate necessary steps for the removal of Tushar Mehta from the post of the Solicitor General of India to uphold India’s Constitutional values,” the letter said.