To kill or not to kill, that was the question. To the rest of India, the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is ancient history. In Tamil Nadu, however, every once in a while, it becomes a live issue laced with high drama, politics, and emotion–genuine or not.
When I walked into the chambers, a colleague had looked at me and said, “The man is coming.” “The man” of course, was the irrepressible and enigmatic counsel for the defence, Ram Jethmalani. He was coming to appear before the Madras High Court in the petition filed by the convicted killers of Rajiv Gandhi, to stay their hanging that had been scheduled for September 9, 2011, on the ground that there had been an inordinate delay by the President in disposing of the clemency petition.
This is nothing new for Mr. Jethmalani. He has stood between the hangman and his prize, between the state and the dissenter (often, he has been the dissenter himself), and between the accused and the judgement of a society that believes that in certain cases, they can usurp the courts’ function and proclaim guilt. Echoing Erskine’s famous defence of himself in the trial of Thomas Paine, he has always believed in the duty of a counsel to his client, and that the “end of liberty” is the day that an advocate is allowed to say whether he will or will not stand between the State and the subject arraigned in the court.
The reputation has been well earned. There have been few lawyers in independent India who can match his legal learning, experience, and sheer rhetorical brilliance. His work ethic is the stuff of legend for not one, but many generations of lawyers.
Originally published in Scroll.in
Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ram Jethmalani is said to be India’s highest-paid lawyer. In this interview with Scroll.in, he explains why he is representing Arvind Kejriwal for Re 1 in the defamation cases filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jethmalani speaks of Jaitley’s role in removing him as Law Minister under the National Democratic Alliance government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, his disappointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, how he was persuaded to appear for LK Advani in the hawala case, and the Rs 13 lakhs he paid to get an article against Jaitley published in a newspaper. Excerpts:
Considering that you are said to be India’s highest-paid lawyer, why have you chosen to represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in the civil and criminal defamation cases filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for just Re 1?
Listen, I have this reputation that I am a highly paid lawyer, but what many people don’t know is that I earn money from only 10% of my clients. The rest of my work is pro bono. I work free. Sure, I am not charging any fee from Kejriwal and that’s because his government itself is so poor. (Laughs heartily.)
Did the Aam Aadmi Party leaders reach out to you or did you reach out to them?
I don’t get in touch with anyone on my own. Kejriwal got in touch with me and I promptly said to him, "Yes, I will surely represent you."
Have you been through the papers pertaining to the charges of corruption in the Delhi & District Cricket Association?
So do you think the charges of defalcation of money from the DDCA during Jaitley’s tenure as president are legally tenable?
If a person was reasonably careful, he would have detected the fault and certainly brought it out or dissociated himself totally from it. There is good reason to believe Jaitley has consciously shut his eyes to the fraud in the DDCA. Beyond this, I am not willing to go. But many people would draw stronger inferences than I have. I am still in the state of giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Is it unusual for a person to file both civil and criminal defamation cases?
Yes, first of all, I believe his game is that he will try to get an injunction against the repetition of the statements of which he is complaining. For this, he will use the civil suit. He, anyway, has no intention of going ahead with that suit.
Why do you say that?
I know the tricks of the trade. Jaitley thinks through the criminal case he will strike fear in his opponents. I hope, by now, he has been disillusioned on this count. As it is, in a defamation case, the complainant turns into an accused.
If the court comes to the conclusion that the defamation case is not sustainable, what is the next step? Would Jaitley be deemed guilty of corruption charges? Or would it be all right to conclude that prima facie a case of corruption against him exists?
Well, of course, the least Jaitley will have to do is to resign. I don’t want to see him in jail anyhow. The public life should be cleaned of people who can’t claim to have a completely pure character.
The BJP has demanded that Kejriwal should apologise for his accusations against Jaitley as neither he nor anyone has been named in the report of the three-member panel of inquiry that was appointed by the Delhi government into corruption in DDCA.
Even panels which are appointed don’t wish to get into trouble with politicians, particularly those who are influential. Merely because the panel doesn’t name him means nothing at all. Besides, if a person does not do anything about the wrongs going on around him, then the reasonable inference is that he is colluding in them.
In the court of the people of India, it is not required that proof of guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The common man has a greater understanding of the rules of evidence than a lawyer has. I, personally, think Jaitley has taken a very ill-advised step.
That is of…
He shouldn’t have gone to the court. These are matters you must fight in the court of the people.
So if Jaitley would have sought your advice…
I never, never, never advise people to go to court, particularly so when there exist some questionable aspects of their public life. Even Kejriwal might not know about it, but which his lawyer perhaps would know better. That is why it was so ill-advised of Jaitley to have taken the step of going to court. He should have handled it politically. Ultimately, the people of India have to judge you.
Have you met Kejriwal on this issue?
His friends came over. He, too, came here (to Jethmalani’s home) once and I told him, "Do not worry, I will certainly appear for you." [But] even the copy of complaint is not available still.
When Jaitley went to file the defamation complaints, he was accompanied by BJP foot-soldiers and leaders. It was precisely what happened when Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi appeared in court in the National Herald case. What does the similarity between the two scenes tell you?
These are some kind of shows for the people. This does not mean anything to an honest judge. A good judge may even suspect that this is aimed to influence him.
You have gone on record saying you don’t like Jaitley. What lies underneath the differences between the two of you?
I have very strong opinions about Jaitley. These are not good opinions about him.
Wait till he is cross-examined. I don’t want to spell it out because I don’t want him to be ready (in the court) with anything. But he surely does know that I know many things about him.
Again, like what?
Okay, let me give you one instance. Throughout the 2014 election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a very strong and appealing argument against black money. There is a report of a task force of the BJP itself that $ 1,500 billion, or Rs 90 lakh crore, are stashed abroad. Now, Germany is a richer country than us. I don’t believe people in Germany are more corrupt than Indians, yet they paid $475 million to an employee of the Liechtenstein Bank and got 1,400 names. The Swiss Bankers Association declared that the majority of the names were of Indians. The German government officially declared that it was willing to share the names with any friendly government, without cost, without condition. I want to know whether the then government was prepared to end corruption and…
That was under the United Progressive Alliance government, right?
Yes, the UPA government did nothing, which was the reason why the people threw them out. But what were the Opposition leaders doing? Were they not interested? Even after coming to power, they haven’t gone to the Germans asking for the names, even though Modi visited Germany and the German chancellor came here. The very fact that they did not ask for the names is an almost conclusive evidence that they know the names and they don’t want them to be made public. It also means both are on the list.
Both meaning leaders from the Congress and the BJP?
[Laughs] On top of it, after having won the election on the major plank of the UPA corruption, the party president [Amit Shah], who has been appointed by Modi, makes a public statement that all this talk of corruption, of getting back the black money from abroad, was an election jumla, a joke. It amounts to them accepting that they cheated the people. It is a confession to the grand larceny on the people of this country, that is, the BJP stole the votes of the people by making false representations.
Mr Modi doesn’t say anything. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley doesn’t say anything. What does it show? It shows that all three – Modi, Jaitley, Shah – are in conspiracy. That is why from being the greatest supporter of Modi I have now turned into his greatest critic.
And that is because you feel he has betrayed the people?
I went to Bihar. Nitish Kumar invited me to campaign for him. I told him I didn’t have enough time to go around canvassing. But I asked Nitish to organise two meetings. I also told him, "Believe you me, I will not speak for more than 20 minutes."
So I addressed two meetings in Bihar. I told the audience that it needed to support Nitish and Lalu, that the NDA had betrayed the people and did not deserve their support. But I also told them that I had come to them for a different reason. I said I had come to seek their forgiveness. I said that this was because I am an educated person who has 75 years of experience as a criminal lawyer, and how it was that Modi made a fool of me. I said that even though I had been expelled from the BJP, I worked for him during the 2014 election campaign.
So did Modi or BJP reach out to you to campaign for him?
Let me complete the story. I used to write a weekly column for the Sunday Guardian. You should read the piece I wrote immediately after the 2014 election results were announced. "Mr Modi, congratulations on your spectacular success and I am pleased I made a small contribution to your success. But I am writing this only to tell you that as far as I am concerned, I am in the departure lounge of God’s airport. I want nothing from you; nothing means nothing. Now fulfil your promises to people."
Do you know Modi did not have the courtesy to pick up the phone to thank me even once? What does it show? To me, it shows he is non-human, to say the least. Till today, the man hasn’t spoken to me.
So I told the people of Bihar that I had come to seek their forgiveness, that even I, who is supposed to be a great criminal lawyer of this country, had been swindled.
This went viral. Nitish used this in every speech of his. See, what happened to Modi’s campaign in Bihar? He campaigned intensively, yet suffered the most spectacular defeat of his life. Modi doesn’t realise it.
Why do you think he doesn’t realise it? Have you met Modi?
He used to come here [Jethmalani’s home.]
During the 2014 campaign?
Yes, and before it too. On my birthday in September 2013, both Modi and Advani were present when I tried to bring some sort of understanding between them. Modi has come to my residence more than once. I got lawyers from all political parties to participate in his campaign. Between 15,000-20,000 lawyers assembled in Talkatora stadium, from every part of the country.
Nothing could be worked out between Advani and Modi?
Nothing. On the contrary, Modi has disabled all of them. (Laughs.)
Had Jaitley been in touch with you? What do you think of him?
What has Jaitley done? I can’t remember a big case in which he has appeared, but he perhaps has a bank balance ten times of mine. You can draw your inferences.
Ever since you went public with your decision to represent Kejriwal, the media has been furiously speculating that you have done this because it was Jaitley who was responsible for your removal as law minister under the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Is this true?
Well, he certainly misguided Vajpayee. At that time, the Congress-led government was in Maharashtra. Bal Thackeray had done something seven years ago – I forget what it was precisely – and the Maharashtra government wanted to arrest him. He was a BJP ally. So Prime Minister Vajpayee called me and said, "Ram, he is our ally and you have to defend him."
I told Vajpayee, "He is a friend. You don’t worry, nothing will happen." I was the law minister then and I made a strong public statement defending Thackeray.
By some curious incident, Chief Justice [Adarsh Sein] Anand made an attack on me. He said, "What did the Law Minister mean by issuing statements to defend Thackeray?" These statements were made in the presence of [former Attorney General] Soli Sorabjee and Arun Jaitley. Once Chief Justice Anand made the statement, I called the press and asked them to convey to the Chief Justice that I knew my job and I certainly knew more law than the Chief Justice did. In the first place, it was wrong of him to make that statement in my absence. Second, the statement was absolutely scandalous and unworthy of Chief Justice.
I believe Sorabjee and Jaitley went to Vajpayee and told him the Supreme Court had become the enemy of the government. They said they [NDA] would be in great trouble with the Supreme Court until I was dropped. Vajpayee didn’t have the courage to call me up. So he asked poor Jaswant Singh to do the job.
I remember I was travelling by car from Mumbai to Pune. Jaswant called. So I remarked, "Jaswant, what calls for this urgent call to me?" He said that the Prime Minister wanted me to resign. I didn’t bat an eyelid. I said, "Jaswant, tell the Prime Minister he will get my resignation letter from the nearest fax machine that I can get on the Bombay-Pune road." (Laughs.) I did it.
Didn’t you ask Jaswant Singh what the reason was?
No. Believe you me, I haven’t seen Vajpayee’s face since then. How many years have gone by? These days, sometimes, I wonder whether I should go to meet him. I am told he is in bad shape. But I simply can’t make up my mind to see him.
Are you suggesting Jaitley has a complex vis-à-vis you?
Naturally. You see, all these creatures don’t want anyone who is intellectually superior to them. They managed my expulsion from the BJP [in 2013].
Didn’t you file a defamation suit against the BJP then?
No, I filed a suit for declaring that the order of expulsion is void.
What has happened to the case?
They are seeking adjournments all the time.
Jaitley is supposed to have a lot of clout. Where does his clout come from?
Well, he certainly controls the media, which is not so much a reflection on Jaitley as much as it is on the media itself, on the media bosses. You see, I hardly appear for TV interviews. I have told them that their bosses will not permit them to carry any of the things I say.
In April [this year], I wrote a very strong article against Jaitley. In the article I asked him some questions and sought his replies. For five years till then, I used to write my weekly piece for the Sunday Guardian. I would send my piece on Friday, they would look at it on Saturday, and it would appear Sunday morning.
When I opened the newspaper on Sunday morning, I found my article (the one asking questions) had been blanked out. There was an advertisement inserted in the slot where the article should have been. I was the chairman of the Board (of the Sunday Guardian) at that time. I resigned that day. Of course, I put the piece on my twitter and Facebook accounts.
But what I also did was to call the Indian Express. I told the Express that I wanted them to publish my article and that they could do so as a paid advertisement. I said I would pay for it. Do you know I was charged Rs 13 lakh for it?
Rs 13 lakh for the piece!
Yes, but the article did appear in full [as an advertisement]. The article was on why the government wasn’t doing anything to bring back black money from abroad.
This is shocking.
(Laughs) I don’t know whether it went into the pockets of the Indian Express or to their agents.
Perhaps the highest amount a writer paid to have his piece published.
(Laughs) Ya, ya, I paid for it.
The Finance Minister wouldn’t have liked that, would he?
Jaitley knows he has no answer. If he has an honest answer to give, he should. Why is he in the public life? To give answers.
When I was driving to your place, a friend who knew I was to interview you wanted me to find out whether it was indeed true, as is the talk in the legal fraternity, that Jaitley used to carry your coat in his younger days.
(Silent for a few seconds) No doubt about it. Well, now look when Advani…
Why do you think Modi dragged LK Advani into the DDCA controversy by saying that Jaitley’s innocence would be proved in the hawala case as Advani’s was in the hawala case? (It was a scandal that broke out in 1991. Several politicians were accused of accepting money through hawala brokers)
Modi’s statement is extremely ambiguous. You see, Advani had resigned when the case was on. I must tell you that he approached me…
Yes, he and Jaitley approached me on the hawala case. Jaitley was Advani’s lawyer then. He had charges framed against Advani in the judgement written by the Session Court over 200 pages. [Meaning Jaitley couldn’t convince the Sessions Court that no charges were made out against Advani.] I said I was sorry, I refused point-blank to appear for Advani.
After a week, they again came, including Jaitley. Advani said he would resign from politics altogether if I were not to take up his case. He said I would be responsible for it. He did a kind of satyagraha in my house. Advani’s wife is my rakhi sister. Ultimately, I took up the case. I fought it free. I got the charges against him quashed by the High Court. The government went in appeal to the Supreme Court. I fought the appeal in the Supreme Court and got the judgement of the High Court sustained.
LK Advani has written, I think, a 600-page book [My Life, My Countryactually has 1,000 pages] in which there is just one reference to me, and that is, "Ram Jethmalani is born in Shikarpur [in Sindh, Pakistan]." (Laughs). He is party to my expulsion.
Yes, he is. Along with Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari. At least Gadkari is appreciative of the fact that he did a wrong thing against me.
Why did Gadkari move against you?
I called Gadkari. This was at the time the BJP was amending the Constitution to give him the second term. I was opposed to it. I explained to Gadkari, "Please, try to understand that I am not your enemy. I am not coveting your office. But I will tell you why I am opposed to the party’s move to give you a second term."
I reminded him about the ugly incident in his life, for which he was personally not responsible. But the government knew about it, I said to him, and it would therefore always blackmail you. Even today, he is appreciative of the advice I gave him, unlike other rascals. He is more friendly to me than them, despite the fact that he did sign my expulsion order.
What is the ugly incident are you referring to?
The ugly incident was, well… he had a car in his garage. A girl was found dead in the car. What was the defence? The garage door was open, the car door was open, and the girl walked into the garage, then into the car, and the door of the car shut behind her, and she couldn’t open it. Will you believe the story that she died of suffocation?
I told Gadkari that he would always be blackmailed on this count. This was why he shouldn’t become the president. So he too joined the clique.
Do you agree with the BJP that says the Delhi government isn’t entitled to institute a commission of inquiry into the DDCA?
I think the BJP is wrong. Let them fight it out in the court. Apart from the three things (land, police and public order) spelt out, it is in charge of everything else.
Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is available in bookstores.
We welcome your comments at email@example.com.
- By Anil Divan
On September 14, 2010 the redoubtable Ram Jethmalani completed 87 years of an eventful and picturesque journey. Currently president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, past chairman of the Bar Council of India, Parliamentarian, former Minister, a leading member of the Opposition, author and publicist, Ram is a picture of perennial youth, immeasurable vitality and inexhaustible courage.
I thought I would share with readers of The Hindu some of the high points in his remarkable career, but this article got a little delayed because of the author's indisposition.
This piece is based on a speech made in April 2007 at the time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released one of Ram's books titled Conscience of a Maverick.
When I was requested to make the speech in April 2007, I asked the organisers whether there were any do's and dont's and the response was that Ram loves the freedom of speech — speak what you like. It is in that spirit — affectionate but not uncritical — that I write these few words.
I recall Oliver Cromwell's famous remarks to his portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely. He said, “Paint me as I am, do not leave the scars and wrinkles.”
I will paint Ram as I know him, wrinkles and scars.
Ram and I share warm affection for each other and we have a penchant for fighting cases involving corruption in high places and mis-governance.
But we agreeably disagree on methods, norms and ethical dimensions. Ram floats on higher thermals in the Elysian fields where the normal rules of behaviour of mere mortals hardly apply.
Ram is fearless and forthright — on occasions, too forthright.
He is irrepressibly audacious with a sense of the dramatic. He has the gift of hitting the headlines but has a warm and golden heart. In politics he has gravitated through the whole spectrum — he believes in what Oliver Goldsmith wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
He wears his heart on his sleeve. He will confront openly and attack directly. He will not stab anyone in the back.
But these strengths and virtues are handicaps in Indian politics. As a result, he is a potent force in the Opposition, but uncomfortable on the treasury benches — and many of his colleagues on the treasury benches become even more uncomfortable in his presence.
Charles de Gaulle the great French President and World War-II hero said: “A good politician never believes what he says and he is very distressed when others believe him.”
Ram believes what he says and says it passionately and emphatically.
Recently he hit the headlines expressing his views on the Kashmir interlocutors that were radically different from those of the political party which brought him to the Rajya Sabha.
But above all Ram is an incomparable and matchless defence lawyer in criminal cases. In the Indira Gandhi assassination case, he won an acquittal for Balbir Singh who had suffered a death sentence.
In the case arising from a terrorist attack on Parliament, Ram won an acquittal for S.A.R. Geelani both from the high court and confirmed by the Supreme Court, even though the accused was awarded a death sentence by the trial court.
Ram fought these cases against the tide of popular opinion. It was a battle in the heroic mould.
There is nothing more rewarding for a lawyer than saving a client's life.
Ram's services as a defence lawyer are sought by powerful political leaders, cutting across party lines. That is his strength and forte.
Today the practice of criminal law is the road to fame and fortune and occasionally a seat in the Rajya Sabha.
During the Emergency (1975-1977), Ram's voice was loud and clear for which an arrest warrant was issued from Kerala. It was stayed by the Bombay High Court when over 300 lawyers led by Nani Palkhivala and including this author appeared for him. However the stay was nullified by the “Habeas Corpus” judgment ( ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla) and Ram exiled himself in the United States carrying on his campaign against the Emergency. He returned to fight the elections in 1977 and ousted the serving Law Minister H.R. Gokhale from Bombay in the Lok Sabha Elections, and then started his political career as Parliamentarian, Minister and Opposition leader.
Today we have the blessings of the Right to Information Act (RTI), but it is important to recall that Ram, as the Union Minister of Urban Affairs in 1998, opened the files of his department for public scrutiny. The bureaucracy was stunned and ultimately scuttled it.
Ram has always unwaveringly supported the freedom of speech and expression, the liberty of the media, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. His writings bear testimony to this unfailing commitment.
The freedom of speech is our priceless heritage. We must all endeavour to preserve it and nourish it.
Ram Jethmalani, is in law, evergreen, ever-energetic, ever enthusiastic, never one to give up and reminds one of evergreen cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. But his style is more in the Sehwag mould — brilliant, spectacular, audacious.
In 2007, I read a report that Ram had applied to the Supreme Court to take up his case early because his astrologer had told him that he might not be available after July. Obviously, he was a false prophet. My advice to Ram is not to believe astrologers and go on to hit a century with frequent sixes.
(The writer is a senior advocate.)
Originally published here.
This country has suffered many a misfortune but none greater than the vice and persistence in our public life of a despicable character called Subramanian Swamy. His has been a life of character assassination, malicious mendacity and sordid blackmail of any one who happens to cross his path. No body has been able to deflect him from his criminal course of conduct because few have the inclination to take on this vicious viper and expose him for what he really is.
Most good men have no stomach for controversies and fights at the Swamy level. To make mean attacks on those who in good faith have helped him in life is his speciality. And behind all his evil is one fostering frustration that he has not become the Prime Minister of India
True, democracy must take in its stride even dangerous megalomaniacs like him, but equally the people must know what they are dealing with. This diseased insect cannot be disinfected. He has to be crushed and carefully incinerated. It is not enough to throw him into the gutter.That is his natural habitat. There he will grow and flourish.
The witnesses to prove this damning thesis are legion. This virulent viper's targets have been many. Scores who have silently borne his impertinent insults can be cited. For lack of space only a few instances would suffice. Let us take the venerable R. Venkataraman, a politician who adorned the Rashtrapati Bhawan and is now a universally respected elder statesman. In his book, My Presidential Years, he records:
"Early in October, a file recommending the appointment of Roxana Subramanian Swamy as Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court came to me with the recommendation of all the constitutional authorities. Mrs Swamy had completed 10 years and four months at the bar, just a few months more than the minimum qualification fixed under the Constitution. Her income was stated to be Rs 20,000 per annum during 1989 and 1990. There were a number of women lawyers in the Delhi High Court with greater standing and with far greater income from theprofession. To overlook all of them and appoint a person with Mrs Swamy's standing and practice would have been an affront to the bar. I therefore returned the file to the Prime Minister for reconsideration. Dr Subramanian Swamy mounted a tirade against me in the Central Hall of Parliament and outside which I ignored. I had never been either pressured or cajoled to act against my conviction.''
What did Venkataraman suffer for doing his constitutional duty of preventing an unworthy appointment on the Delhi High Court Bench? Dr Swamy accused Venkataraman of having harboured at the Rashtrapati Bhawan an Indian naval officer who confessed to have been a spy for Pakistan! He alleged Venkataraman had written that paragraph in his book only to cover up the fact that Venkataraman's daughter had misused the Rashtrapati Bhawan stationery to collect Rs 18 crore for a private Trust which she misrepresented as being an official Trust. Venkataraman knew, alleges the malevolent Dr Swamy, that the latter was investigatinghis daughter.
Chidambaram, Moopanar, Karunanidhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Margaret Alva have had one time or the other become the victims of this man's concoctions and perjury. He virulently attacked Rajiv Gandhi and even insulted Sonia Gandhi. Later he pretended to be a long lost friend and become a beneficiary of the family's political games. Publicly he claimed that Rajiv wanted him to be the Prime Minister of India but he generously passed on the gift to Chandra Shekhar. He professed to have become a Rajiv admirer in 1985 but he was shown to be a liar when confronted with what he wrote of him in 1987:
"The media blitz had worked admirably and a new synthetic colossus strode at the political landscape after 1984 in the persona of Rajiv Gandhi. That synthetic image has been blown. The media bubble has been pricked; Rajiv Gandhi warts and all, except to a few like Akbar. He should be seen for what he always was: an inexperienced semi-literate with no clue as to where he wants to take the country andtherefore unfit to be prime minister of a great country like India.''
I do not believe that Rajiv wanted to humiliate the Indian nation by making Swamy its Prime Minister.
I was introduced to Dr Swamy during the Emergency in New York by my Late friend Makrand Desai of Gujarat. I was teaching in the USA then. I regard him as a colleague and even extended hospitality and cooperation to him. He shared some of my views on international and political affairs and through his meandering course in the Janata Party, Lok Dal and new incarnation of the Janata Party, I only watched his crooked movements but hardly ever crossed his path. I took notice of him when as Chandra Shekhar's Law Minister, he took some actions which I regarded as abominable and corrupt. He tried to scuttle the investigation against a corrupt Supreme Court judge by taking the view that the motion of impeachment had lapsed on the dissolution of the House.
The Supreme Court reversed his opinion and action. He tried to scuttle the Boforsinvestigation by encouraging a law officer to make a stupid confession to the Court that the FIR disclosed no offence. This provoked the upright Madhavan to interrupt counsel and courageously tell the judge that his own counsel was exceeding his brief. Madhavan earned Swamy's wrath. Fortunately the Supreme Court put an end to this unscrupulous stratagem.
Chandraswami is his bosom friend. Long an absconder from justice, he returned to India only when his friend Chandra Shekhar was installed as Prime Minister and Swamy as Law Minister. When he arrived in India, Swamy received him at the Airport, presumably both for himself and the Government of India.
CBI Joint Director N.K. Singh was investigating the St. Kitts forgery case in which Chandraswami is even now an accused. Swamy and his Government shifted that honest officer and thereby the investigation was delayed for at least two years. I have frustrated Swamy's designs and I have become an eyesore to him.
What finally has made Swamy desperate iscuriously connected with Dr Jayalalitha, his present ally and mentor. He had through Chandra Shekhar brought down the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu, on the allegation that the LTTE was flourishing during the DMK regime.
Jayalalitha was the gainer. Politically, he remained her friend, but according to his own public statement, only up to about April, 1992. By August 1992 he had started attacking her.
Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2017.
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