Solicitor General`s appearance in Bofors case objected in SC

Last Updated: Friday, February 12, 2010 - 00:40

New Delhi: A strong objection was today
raised in the Supreme Court over the appearance of Solicitor
General Gopal Subramanium on behalf of CBI in the Bofors pay
off case on the ground that he was a defence counsel for one
of the main accused prior to his appointment as the law
officer.

Advocate Ajay Agrawal, who had pursued the case in
various courts, alleged that Subramanium was the counsel for
the late Win Chadha, who was issued charge sheet by the CBI in
the gun deal.

The counsel said he has serious objections to
Subramanium`s appearing in the case as Chadha, who was accused
of acting as middleman in the deal, was represented by him
before he became law officer for the government in 2004.

"I have also filed a complaint with the Bar Council of
India (BCI) against Subramanium," he submitted before a Bench
comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and justices B S
Chauhan and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad.

However, the Solicitor General opposed Agrawal`s stand
saying Chadha died almost a decade ago.

"I can`t meet a client who died almost a decade ago.
He has left for heaven," Subramanium said about Chadha, who
died on October 24, 2001.

Chadha was issued charge sheet along with former
defence secretary S K Bhatnagar, Italian businessman Ottavio
Quattrocchi and Bofors chief Martin Ardbo on October 22, 1999.
The company was also named as an accused.
Bhatnagar and Ardbo have also died.

Agrawal asked that when the issue arising out of the
case is pending in trial court and apex court, how can an
advocate, who was a defence counsel turn up for the
prosecution.

At this point, the bench, which was a hearing
Agrawal`s petition against Quattrocchi, asked him to make
submission on the issue for which the matter was listed.
It questioned the advocate for pursuing the case
against Quattrocchi in the apex court saying "some of your
prayers don`t even survive".

Agrawal, however, said here it was the question of
rule of law and "the court has to uphold the rule of law" as
several developments have taken place after he moved a
petition against Quattrocchi.

"The accused is not above the rule of law," the
counsel said while narrating some developments relating to the
case including the application filed by CBI in the trial court
for withdrawing the case against Quattrocchi which has been
fixed for hearing on March 31.

However, the bench asked him to confine himself to the
averments and prayers made by him in the petition.

"Don`t mix up all these things. Restrict yourself to
averments and prayers made by you in the writ petition," the
bench said.

Realising that there was paucity of time as the
advocate said he will make a detail arguments, the bench
posted the matter for hearing on February 16.

The advocate had filed the petition in 2006 seeking
directions for the CBI to take action to stop defreezing of
Quattrocchi`s accounts in a bank in London.

-PTI



First Published: Friday, February 12, 2010 - 00:40

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