Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says did not meet BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday dismissed reports that he met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari, saying that though Adhikari came to his residence to meet him, the meeting could not take place.
“Shri Suvendhu Adhikari did come to my residence cum office yesterday at around 3pm, unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room of my office building and offered him a cup of tea. When my meeting was over and my staff informed me about his arrival, I requested my staff to convey to Mr Adhikari my inability to meet him and apologise as he had to wait,” Mehta noted in a statement to Hindustan Times.
“Mr Adhikari thanked my staff and left without insisting on meeting me. The question of my meeting Mr Adhikari, therefore, does not arise,” the statement further stated.
Earlier in the day, the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking “immediate” removal of Mehta from the post of Solicitor General of India. “We strongly condemn Shri Tushar Mehta’s meeting with Shri Suvendu Adhikari, who has been accused of various offences that are currently being investigated. This raises some serious concerns about the integrity of the post held by the Learned Solicitor General,” the official TMC Twitter handle posted.
The TMC letter, too, stated that Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, is also an accused in various offences being investigated by agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Two such cases are the infamous Narada sting operation case and the Sarada chit fund case, the letter said. “Therefore, the various news reports containing videos of the alleged meeting between Adhikari and Mehta, who is advising such investigating agencies, shows that there is a direct conflict of interest with the statutory duties of the Solicitor General of India,” it noted further.
Mehta is representing the CBI in the two cases.
The development marks yet another faceoff between the TMC and the BJP in the wake of the bitterly contested West Bengal assembly elections in April-May. The BJP alleges that several of its workers were targeted by TMC after the Banerjee-led party won a third consecutive term. TMC, on the other hand, has dismissed the charge. On May 17, the CBI arrested three TMC leaders, including two cabinet ministers, as well as a former party leader in connection with the Narada case. On May 28, he four were later granted interim bail by the Calcutta high court.