The Trinamool Congress has sharpened and broadened its attacks on the Bharatiya Janata Party even as the BJP has been doing the same against the TMC.
A letter has now been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by three TMC MPs – Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Mahua Moitra – demanding that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta be removed from his post over his alleged meeting with BJP MLA Subhendu Adhikari, who is an accused in the Saradha chit fund and Narada sting cases.
Mehta appears for the CBI in these cases where the CBI is the principal probe agency. Mehta later denied the allegations, saying that while Adhikari did come to his house, no meeting took place.
The letter obviously points out a clear conflict of interest. The letter, written on behalf of the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), informs that “recently, various news reports containing videos have been circulated from which we have been made aware that Suvendu (sic) Adhikari, an accused in various offences being investigated by CBI and ED and a politician belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, had meetings with Tushar Mehta.”
The letter says that the meeting happened at the residence of the Solicitor General of India. Tweets have also been circulated on social media by prominent personalities questioning such a meeting between Adhikari and Mehta, which, curiously took place subsequent to a meeting of Adhikary with Home Minister Amit Shah.
“Suvendu Adhikari is accused in various criminal cases of cheating, illegal gratification and bribery etc.,” says the letter.
“Two such matters are the:
“1. Narada Case, being investigated by the CBI and ED where Suvendu Adhikari was seen taking bribes in a sting operation and were publicly circulated by the BJP. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, is representing the CBI in the Narada case before Supreme Court and High Court.
“2. Saradha Chit Fund Case, being investigated by the CB and ED where Sudipta Sen the prime accused, had written multiple letters levying grave allegations against Suvendu Adhikari. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, has advised and appeared for the CBI in the case also,” the letter adds.
The letter said that the “Solicitor General of India is the second-highest law officer of the Country after the Attorney General of India and advises the Government of India and its various organs in crucial legal matters such as Narada and Saradha cases. Such meetings between an accused in grave offences, with the Solicitor General who is advising such investigating agencies by whom the said accused is being investigated, is in direct conflict of interest with the statutory duties of the Solicitor General of India.”
The letter alleges that such a meeting has been organised to influence the outcome of matters where Suvendu Adhikari is an accused, using the high offices of the Solicitor General. We state that the act of the Solicitor General to provide an opportunity of the audience to Suvendu Adhikari not only reeks of impropriety but also raises the question of integrity, and taints the post occupied by the Solicitor General.
“In order to avoid any doubt in the mind of the public at large, as to the integrity and neutrality of the office of the Solicitor General of India, we approach you to initiate necessary steps for removal of Tushar Mehta from the post of the Solicitor General of India,” the letter states.
No meeting took place, says Tushar Mehta
SG Tushar Mehta later denied these allegations. In a statement, he said: “Sh Suvendu Adhikari did come to my residence cum office yesterday at around 3:00PM, unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room of my office and offered him a cup of tea.
“When my meeting was over, my PPS informed me about his arrival. I requested my PPS to convey Adhikari my inability to meet him & apologise as he had to wait. Adhikari left without insisting to meet me. The question of my meeting with Adhikari, therefore, did not arise.”