Bengaluru: Veteran lawyer Fali S Nariman has declined to represent Karnataka before the Supreme Court in the case on sharing of the Cauvery river water with Tamil Nadu, said an official on Monday.
"Nariman has told Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on phone from Delhi that he would not argue for the state in the Cauvery case as the opposition lawmakers criticised him and asked for his replacement on Monday," an official in the chief minister's office told IANS.
Siddaramaiah, however, rushed Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil to Delhi to pacify Nariman and ask him to continue in the case, as his legal services were essential to defend the state's stand.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Jagadish Shettar, in the assembly, and K.S. Eshwarappa, in the council, criticised Nariman for not arguing the state's case on September 30 in the apex court on the grounds that the state had not complied with its orders of September 20 and September 27 to release more water to Tamil Nadu.
According to a disclosure under the RTI Act to the Water Resources Development Organisation in Bengaluru, the state government said it had spent around Rs 76 crore from 2005-06 to July 31, 2016 as fee to the advocates representing the state before the Supreme Court and the inter-state water disputes tribunals in sharing of Cauvery and Krishna river waters with the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
"The state government paid Rs 36.5 crore as fees to the advocates representing Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute, including Rs 13.9 crore to senior advocate Anil B Divan and Rs 7.85 crore to Nariman, Rs 4.59 crore to S.S. Javali and Rs 4.8 crore to M.V. Katarki," RTI activist B.G. Gadad told reporters here.
Similarly, Rs 39.70 crore was paid as fees to 20 advocates for representing the state before the top court and the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal from 2005-06 to August 8, 2016, including six Advocate Generals of the state.
"Divan was paid Rs.12.2 crore, Nariman Rs.6.91 crore, Javali Rs. 4.45 crore, Katarki Rs.3,1 crore and Advocate General Uday Holla Rs. 97.7 lakh in the Krishna river case," added Gadad.