Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CBI counsel Tulsi recuses from Sohrab case

Supreme Court Cites Conflict Of Interest; He Had Earlier Appeared For Gujarat Govt
New Delhi: CBI’s special counsel in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, senior advocate K T S Tulsi, recused from the case after the Supreme Court on Tuesday cited conflict of interest.
In an apparent reference to Tulsi’s earlier appearance for Gujarat government, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha told him: “You are an eminent counsel and a member of the Law Commission of India. It is not proper for you to appear for the CBI.”
Tulsi immediately recused from the case. He said that the accused, through their lawyers, “first targeted the judge who was earlier heading the bench for ordering CBI probe. Now, when the case is at a critical stage, they have launched a vicious campaign against everyone who is assisting the court and appearing for CBI.”
He added: “I recused immediately because I did not want the focus to shift from the culpability of those who may have committed the crime.” The CBI will have to look for Tulsi’s replacement before August 17, the next date of hearing.
The court, in January last year, had ordered a CBI probe into the case, in which senior police officers D G Vanzara, Dinesh M N and Rajkumar Pandian was arrested. Later, the agency arrested former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah and named him as the key accused.
Tulsi had earlier appeared for the Gujarat government in the case. At that time, the state had admitted before the Supreme Court that it was a fake encounter.
Tulsi returned the brief when chief minister Narendra Modi made disparaging remarks against Sohrabuddin in an election speech justifying the killing. He had said that if the CM was correct, then the state had lied to the court on affidavit conceding it to be a fake encounter.
However, the bench retained senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam’s services as the amicus curiae. Shah’s counsel Ram Jethmalani said he had objections to Subramanaim’s appearance as amicus curiae in the case as long as he was solicitor general of India.
“We had serious issues in the case with the Union government and objected to the role of solicitor general as an amicus. But now that he is no longer the SG, he is most welcome given his legal acumen and experience,” he said.

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