Amid row, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denies meeting Suvendu Adhikari
Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, on Friday denied claims that he met with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari. He said that while Adhikari did come to his residence to meet him, the meeting could not actually take place. The alleged meeting between the two had sparked outrage, with the Trinamool Congress party demanding Mehta's removal from the top post.
"Suvendhu Adhikari did come to my residence-cum-office yesterday at around 3 pm, unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room," Mehta reportedly said. "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."
"Mr. Adhikari thanked my staff and left without insisting on meeting me. The question of my meeting Mr. Adhikari, therefore, does not arise," Mehta further claimed in a statement to Hindustan Times.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to fire Mehta from the post of India's Solicitor General. The letter noted that Adhikari is an accused in several corruption cases and hence the alleged meeting was in "direct conflict of interest with the statutory duties of the Learned Solicitor General of India."
"This (alleged meeting) raises some serious questions about the integrity of the post held by the Learned Solicitor General," the TMC tweeted this afternoon. "We have...reasons to believe that such a meeting has been organized to influence the outcome of matters where Suvendu Adhikari is an accused." The letter was signed by TMC MPs Derek O'Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, and Mahua Moitra.
Adhikari is an accused in two high-profile cases, i.e., Narada sting case and Saradha chit fund, the letter highlighted. He is facing allegations of corruption and bribery in those cases. Both the cases are being investigated by top central probe agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Mehta notably represents the CBI in the two cases.
We strongly condemn Shri Tushar Mehta's meeting with Shri @SuvenduWB, who has been accused in various offences that are currently being investigated.— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) July 2, 2021
This raises some serious questions about the integrity of the post held by the Learned Solicitor General. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/PQTKtNR7La
This incident adds to a series of confrontations between Banerjee's party and PM Modi's BJP in the wake of the bitterly-fought West Bengal Assembly elections earlier this year. In the polls, the TMC won a thumping majority and returned to power for a third straight term. Both the parties have also accused each other of attacking their members after the election results.