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From Asaram to Indira's assassins: 10 high-profile cases Jethmalani fought

Jethmalani on Saturday announced his retirement from legal practice after an over seven-decade-long career

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani recently announced his retirement from legal practice. File photo

Ram Jethmalani, 94, on Saturday announced his retirement from legal practice after an over seven-decade-long career as an advocate.  

He was speaking at a function organised by apex bar body, the Bar Council of India, to felicitate the new Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra. 

While announcing his retirement after a much-canvased career, the veteran lawyer alleged that the present NDA government has "let down" the nation like the previous UPA dispensation.

Calling the present status of governance a "calamity", he said that he would continue to fight corrupt politicians.

Here are 10 high-profile cases Jethmalani fought

1) Jethmalani served as senior counsel for Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, who had been convicted for the assassination of late prime minister An IndiaToday report describes how Jethmalani was able to secure a stay on the executions of the two convicts in December of 1988 in what the report described as a "dramatic anticlimax". Subsequently, both Satwant and Kehar were hanged till death in January next year.  

2) Courting controversy, Jethmalani, while arguing for assassination case convict V Sriharan (alias Murugan), told the Supreme Court in July of 2015 that the May 21, 1991, suicide bomb attack that killed the former prime minister was not a crime against India. 

The statement, according to a Times of India report, was made while a bench, comprising then Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices F M I Kalifulla, P C Ghose, A M Sapre and U U Lalit, was hearing the Centre's petition challenging the Tamil Nadu government's 2014 decision to commute the sentences of seven life convicts in the Rajiv assassination case and to release them from prison. 

3) Jethmalani also defended Harshad Mehta in the 1992 stock market scam. "Harshad Mehta isn't taking any chances," wrote IndiaToday in May of 1992, reporting that the stockbroker had hired "a battery of top lawyers", including Jethmalani.  

4) Jethmalani served as senior counsel for in the Jessica Lal murder case. 

Sharma, son of senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Vinod Sharma, was awarded the life sentence after being convicted for the murder of model Jessica Lal, who was shot dead in New Delhi in 1999. In April of 2010, the Supreme Court confirmed the Delhi HC judgment awarding the life term to Sharma. 

5) Jethmalani represented Kanimozhi in the 2G scam, which took over headlines and has been held as part of the reason behind the UPA dispensation's downfall. 

In its charge sheet, the CBI has alleged a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum, which was scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. All the accused who are out on bail have denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI.

According to agency reports, a court in New Delhi on August 25, 2017, adjourned the 2G scam cases against former telecom minister A Raja, DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and others for September 20, 2017. 

6) Jethmalani also defended self-styled godman Bapu in a sexual assault case. 

The trial relates to a complaint by a victim alleging that had sexually assaulted her between 2001 and 2006, when she was living in his ashram in the state. The victim's younger sister has filed a similar complaint against Asaram's son Narayan Sai.

Asaram, 72, is lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail since September 2013 following his arrest the previous month for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl in his ashram in the Rajasthan city. In August this year, the Supreme Court questioned the Gujarat government about the slow pace of the trial. 

7) Jethmalani defended AIADMK leader and late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case. 

8) He appeared for current BJP President in several fake encounter cases, including the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

9) Jethmalani appeared for senior BJP leader in the Hawala scam, a scandal involving politicians allegedly making payments in black money through four hawala brokers. In December of 2015, he would go on to remark that Advani had come out victorious because he had defended the latter in the case. 

10) Jehthmalani also defended former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa in an illegal mining case.

First Published: Mon, September 11 2017. 13:57 IST