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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Law officers’ tiff adds to govt woes in crucial week

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 05, 2013
First Published: 00:13 IST(5/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:01 IST(5/5/2013)

As the government prepares itself for a tough week in the Supreme Court on the issue of its alleged interference in the CBI probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, one of the biggest challenge it faces is how to resolve the serious differences among its own law officers.

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Though the UPA-II’s legal team has remained a divided lot since it was formed in June 2009, it seems to have reached a flashpoint now with senior law officers openly accusing each other of betrayal, in a clear indication of complete breakdown of trust between them.

One of main reasons behind the continuous squabbling among the law officers, which has affected the government defence particularly in the SC, has been the lack of continuity in the law ministry.

In its four year tenure, the UPA-II has so far seen three law ministers and at least five law officers have opted out of its legal team during this period, citing unhappiness with the way they have been treated. Ashwani Kumar landed in trouble within six months of taking over as law minister from his predecessor Salman Khurshid who spent only 15 months in this job.   

The embarrassing details about the alleged government interference into the CBI probe in the coal scam could not have come at a worse time.

What has compounded the government’s trouble is the sensational disclosure by former additional solicitor general, Harin Raval, that top law officer Attorney General GE Vahanvati had gone through nine more status reports of the coal scam, prepared by the probe agency.

Though Vahanvati has categorically denied having made any changes in any of the reports, Raval’s outburst showed there were serious cracks in the legal team.

This was not an isolated incident, there have been numerous instances dissent among law officers during the last four years on a number of issues and the government has only itself to blame for having allowed the situation to take such a turn.


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