In a snub to the law ministry, the Maharashtra government and the CBI have engaged the former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium to represent them in all the important criminal cases in the Supreme Court.Subramanium, who quit as the second highest ranking law officer of the government in July in protest against the government's decision to replace him in the 2G scam case with a private lawyer, will lead the Maharashtra government's legal team on Monday to oppose the appeal filed by 26/11 strike convict Ajmal Amir Kasab. "I have decided to appear for the Maharashtra government and I will not charge any fees," Subramanium told HT.
Special prosecutor for the Maharashtra government, Ujjwal Nikam, will assist Subramanium in opposing the plea filed by Kasab.
According to a notification issued by the Maharashtra's home department, Nikam’s fees will be Rs 50,000 per appearance, besides Rs 10,000 an hour for discussion and exchange of opinion. He will also get business-class air travel for visits to the capital.
In a separate development, the CBI has informed the law ministry about its decision to continue its engagement with Subramanium in important criminal cases, including the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts and the Satyam fraud case.
Interestingly, Salman Khurshid’s first decision after taking charge as the union law minister on July 12 was to accept Subramanium’s resignation. The ministry, however, has insisted all is well between the government’s legal arm and its former colleague.
"We have no objection to the CBI’s decision to retain Subramanium as its special counsel. We have received the communication about this from the department for personnel and training (DoPT), which is responsible for the the investigating agency’s administrative matters," said a top law ministry official. "We have an old association with him (Subramanium) and have provided him the list of all the cases in which the CBI wants to retain him," said the official.
The ministry, though, is in the process of appointing at least two more law officers to look after the criminal cases filed in the Supreme Court.
HT has learnt that two more additional solicitor generals are likely to be appointed soon. Subramanium said he had left all the controversies behind him now.