A controversy has erupted over Supreme Court-appointed special CBI public prosecutor in the 2G scam case UU Lalit appearing against the agency to defend Suresh Kalmadi in the CWG scam.
Even if technically there is no conflict of interest, legal experts, including former judges, say Lalit should withdraw from either of the two cases on “moral and ethical grounds” and “in “public interest” to ensure that the common man does not lose trust in the CBI and in the fight against corruption.
While special judge OP Saini is trying the 2G scam case, the CWG scam case is being heard by special judge Talwant Singh. Both the special courts are located in the capital’s Patiala House courts complex.
Questioning Lalit’s appointment as special PP in a case like the 2G scam, they say only a senior government counsel should have been made a special PP and not one who “continued to have interest in private practice”.
But a day after Lalit strongly argued Kalmadi’s bail application, the CBI defended him, saying he was appointed by the Supreme Court only for the 2G scam case and the agency could not bar him from appearing for any private party.
“Technically they — 2G and CWG scams — are different cases. He (Lalit) is special public prosecutor only for the 2G case. So we cannot bar him from appearing for private parties,” CBI spokesperson Dharni Mishra told HT.
But senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan disagrees. “Once he (Lalit) agreed to the Supreme Court’s direction to represent the CBI in 2G scam hearings, it is in public interest for him to stay clear of any accused in any other corruption scandals.”
When contacted Lalit said: “I have been advising Kalmadi for four months…I was asked to represent the CBI in the 2G case only subsequently. I’m not a general counsel for the CBI and am only bound by the Supreme Court’s directions in 2G cases. 2G and CWG cases are not connected. A special public prosecutor is not barred from taking up independent cases and so there is no conflict of interest also”.
Former Delhi High Court judge Justice RS Sodhi feels Lalit should have been “more prudent before taking up Kalmadi’s brief as CWG scam is being talked about equally as is the 2G scam and it was the Supreme Court that reposed faith in him to nail the corrupt. I think now the apex court should remove him.”
Another former Delhi HC judge SN Dhingra says: “Look at lawyer Ram Jethmalani. He fights against black money and corruption and represents the most corrupt in the 2G scam. Lawyers are not concerned about morality and ethics. For them even appointment as a special public prosecutor is just another brief. They do not realize the accountability towards the government. Special Public Prosecutors should always be somebody who has been continuously representing the government.”