SC row: Gopal Subramaniam denied 2G smear in letter to Sibal

With the BJP government putting on hold the appointment of former SG Gopal Subramaniam as a Supreme Court judge after a 'negative' CBI input over his alleged meeting with a lawyer of 2G scam accused A Raja, it has now emerged that Subramaniam had in 2011 written to the then telecom minister Kapil Sibal denying that he had ever met the lawyer.

 SC row: Gopal Subramaniam denied 2G smear in letter to Sibal

Former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam. IBNLive

According to The Indian Express, Subramaniam, in his letter to Sibal after he quit office, said he never had such a meeting and that he was hurt by the reports in the media. "As far as 2G case goes, I was shocked to see that the extent of criminality wasn’t revealed to me by the government on its own. I have been hurt by the kind of media reports which have appeared about me. I just wish to put it on record for you that I never ever interacted with any lawyer in the case."

The CBI input was provided after the new government had requested the agency to to investigate if Subramaniam had met a lawyer in the 2G case. This after reports emerged that he had met with a lawyer in his chambers despite not having a role in the case.

In its reply, the CBI said it had not engaged the services of Subramaniam in its 2G investigations at that stage, but referred to his alleged links with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, where it suggested that Subramaniam recieved certain corporate favours.

Gopal rebutted the input which suggested that he may have taken a favour from the Taj Group of hotels in the form of complimentary swimming facility organised by Niira Radia. He said, as earlier reported by Firstpost, that he never used the Taj swimming pool facility and was neither a member there. The CBI input quotes Niira Radia telling some third person, in the Radia tapes, that such a facility may be offered to Subramaniam.

Backing Subramanian, former SC judge VR Krishna Iyer expressed “regret” over the government’s rejection and has appealed for a review of its decision. In another report in The Indian Express, Iyer in a statement issued, said Subramanian's installation as a judge would be an honour for the Supreme Court Bench.

However to disallow him that post will be an indefensible disaster and disappointment, which the country need not suffer from at all. As a retired judge of the Supreme Court myself I regret this measure of the Prime Minister. I hope he will reconsider his decision. The country cannot afford to lose a sound and splendid lawyer who will adorn the Sup-reme Court Bench,” Iyer said.

The BJP-government's aversion to Subramanian, however, is quite obvious. In an earlier article on Firstpost, columnist MK Venu argued how the BJP government would perhaps not want someone who was responsible for a CBI inquiry against the Modi government in Gujarat in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

The background and context as to why Gopal Subramanian may not be preferred as a SC judge by this government is not so difficult to fathom. Gopal Subramanian was an amicus curie (a friend of the court) in the fake encounter killing matter in which Sohrabuddin and his wife were allegedly eliminated by the Gujarat police when they were travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli. The alleged encounter killing was preceded by Sohrabuddin's wife being subjected to sexual assault.

Gopal was assisting the Supreme Court which had chosen to order a CBI inquiry into the matter after it was clearly established that the Gujarat police wasn't inclined to conduct a fair investigation into the matter.

In the fresh CBI investigation conducted under the Supreme Court direction, it was established, with Gopal's assistance, that a third person was also travelling with Sohrabuddin and his wife. The third person named Tusliram Prajapati was found to be missing and later allegedly killed in another fake encounter. These facts were brought out with Gopal's assistance. The discovery of Tulsiram Prajapati and the alleged link of Amit Shah to the Sohrabuddin case was brought out before the SC when Gopal was playing an active role as an amicus curie appointed by the court.  You can read more here.

The President has meanwhile approved the other three names put forward by the SC collegium, including former solicitor general Rohinton F Nariman and chief justices of Orissa and Calcutta High Courts, Adarsh Kumar Goel and Arun Misra.

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Updated Date: Jun 25, 2014 10:10:21 IST