Sunday, Jan 16, 2022

After PM, TMC Knocks On President's Door For Removal Of Tushar Mehta

Trinamool Congress wrote to President Ramnath Kovind for the removal of Tushar Mehta from the post of the solicitor general of India following a letter from the party to PM Modi making the same demand.

After PM, TMC Knocks On President's Door For Removal Of Tushar Mehta
Tushar Mehta

West Bengal's ruling party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), on Monday, wrote to President Ramnath Kovind seeking the removal of Tushar Mehta from the post of the solicitor general of India. 

This letter comes following a letter from the party to prime minister Narendra Modi making the same demand. 

The TMC targetted Mehta after the BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the Bengal assembly, went to Mehta's residence in New Delhi and stayed there for about half an hour. 

Mehta later said he had refused to meet Adhikari and Adhikari too said he failed to meet Mehta. However, the TMC never bought their statements, with the party's all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee asking for Mehta to make public the CCTV footage of his residence during the period of Adhikari's presence there. 

Adhikari is accused in the Narada cash-for-favours case of 2016, in connection with which two TMC ministers, an MLA, and a former minister were recently arrested by the CBI. All of them have got bail. Mehta has been arguing for the CBI in the Narada case in the high court of Calcutta and the supreme court as well. 

 The TMC had earlier accused the BJP of using the CBI as a tool for the party's benefit after the central agency arrested leaders belonging to the TMC but did not act against Adhikari, who has switched camp. 

In Monday's letter to the President, signed by the TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra, the party said that Adhikari was also an accused in the Saradha scam, which is being probed by the CBI and that Mehta was serving as a special public prosecutor for the agency. 

The letter said that coming soon after Adhikari's meeting with union home minister Amit Shah, to whom the CBI top brass reports, Adhikari's meeting with Mehta gave the party "reasons to believe that such a meeting had been organised to influence the outcome of the criminal cases where Mr. Adhikari is an accused person, using the high office of the solicitor general." 

 "We state that the act of the solicitor general to provide an opportunity of an audience to Suvendu Adhikari not only indicative of grave impropriety but also raises troubling doubts about his professional integrity," the letter said. 

 "The solicitor general's conduct must be investigated and pending such an inquiry he must tender his resignation," the letter demanded. 

 In Bengal, the issue has caused visible discomfort in the BJP camp, which was planning to use the CBI's action in connection with the Narada scam to its advantage. However, the biggest problem for the BJP was the issue that the CBI's lack of action against Adhikari had created a public perception that the CBI was acting in a biased manner. 

 "Adhikari was the thorn in our issue. Now, he made matters worse by going to Mehta's residence without informing anyone in the party's state leadership," said a BJP state unit member. 

 According to psephologist Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata, Adhikari's visit was an unnecessary controversy BJP dragged itself into. 

"Adhikari should not have visited the residence of the public prosecutor arguing in a case in which he himself is an accused. This was improper of Adhikari," Chakraborty said.


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