New Delhi: A delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs met President Ram Nath Kovind here Monday. The TMC MPs sought the removal of Tushar Mehta as the Solicitor General of India. They alleged that his reported meeting with West Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari raised serious doubts of impropriety. TMC MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and Mahua Moitra also submitted a letter to the president, which said, “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,” the letter submitted by the TMC MPs stated.
Solicitor General Mehta has denied meeting Adhikari at his official residence here.
Adhikari, once a Trinamool Congress heavyweight, is an accused in the 2016 Narada tapes case. 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 matter.
Various news items, containing videos and photographs, have reported a private one-on-one meeting between BJP’s Adhikari, ‘an accused’ in serious criminal offences and Mehta, the solicitor general, the letter stated.
This is a ‘deeply troubling matter of national importance that raises grave doubts of impropriety in one of India’s highest legal offices – the Office of the Solicitor General of India’, the letter further said.
Earlier, the party’s members of parliament – Derek O’Brien, Ray and Moitra – had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for removing Mehta.
The letter to the president said, “To make matters worse, this meeting took place subsequent to an equally improper meeting between Adhikari and the Home Minister of India, Amit Shah. Notably, Adhikari is an accused in various criminal cases of cheating, illegal gratification, and bribery etc.”
“We, therefore, have reasons to believe that such a meeting has been organised to influence the outcome of 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 of an audience to Suvendu Adhikari not only indicative of grave impropriety but also raises troubling doubts about his professional integrity,” the TMC alleged in the letter.
The party also said that Mehta, realising the ‘gravity of his actions’ attempted to offer an explanation to the media that Adhikari came to meet him ‘unannounced’, and hence he had to ‘apologise’ for not meeting him.
“We ask ourselves, if this means that the solicitor general would indeed have met an accused person in criminal cases if they had come with a prior appointment. We ask ourselves, has the solicitor general forgotten the ethics and principles which circumscribe his conduct in the high office he occupies,” the TMC said in the letter.