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Subramaniam adamant on quitting, PM asks him to wait

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, who had submitted his resignation a day earlier, to wait till he consults his cabinet colleagues, sources said.

delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2011 01:55 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asked solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam, who had submitted his resignation a day earlier, to wait till he consults his cabinet colleagues, sources said.

Subramaniam offered to quit Saturday as the country's number two law officer, apparently piqued over Union communications minister Kapil Sibal substituting him by senior counsel Rohington Nariman in the 2G scam case in the Supreme Court.

He had asked the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday as to whom should he submit his resignation, as law minister Veerappa Moily had declined to accept it.

The prime minister has told Subramaniam to wait till further consultations with his cabinet colleagues, sources said.

Subramaniam told reporters on Sunday that he had quit to protect the "dignity of the office".

"I feel it was unfair," Subramaniam said about the appointment of another counsel by Sibal.

Sources also added that Subramaniam Saturday spoke to Moily, who is in Bangalore. Moily urged Subramaniam to reconsider his resignation, but the latter is understood to have rejected this.

Earlier on Sunday, Subramaniam met President Pratibha Patil, but the meeting was described as a courtesy call.

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and the Solicitor General are reportedly not on the best of terms.

A reflection of their not-so-warm relationship was evident when in the course of the hearing of a matter, Subramaniam referred to a newspaper report about the irritations in the relations between the two and presenting him in dim light.

Sibal opting for Rohington Nariman to represent him before the apex court in matters relating to the 2G scam is seen as an expression of no-confidence in Subramaniam by an important minister of the government. This was viewed as a unveiled slight.

Nariman would represent Sibal before an apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly in the wake of Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) filing an affidavit alleging that the minister had favoured a service provider which was in trouble in the 2G imbroglio.

The decision to engage Nariman came in the backdrop of the indictment of the central government and its agencies in the apex court verdicts in the black money and Salwa Judum cases last week.

In both the cases, the apex court had taken a dim view of the central government's ineptitude in tracking the source of huge black money stashed outside the country and recovering the same, and the constitutional validity of it supporting the arming of ill-trained and unqualified tribal youths recruited as special police officers (SPOs) to fight the Maoists.

The verdict in these two cases and also in 2G matter was seen as Subramaniam's failure in arguing the central government's case.

The apex court verdict in these cases come at a time when the government is under attack over several scams involving corrupt dealings and the onslaught of the civil society activists led by Anna Hazare.

The government had also inducted another counsel, KK Venugopal, to represent the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval in the 2G scam case.

First Published: Jul 11, 2011 01:53 IST