Days after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government asked the collegium to reconsider his candidature in the wake of a “negative” CBI and IB reports against him, former Solicitor General in the UPA government Gopal Subramanium has withdrawn his candidature for the post of the Supreme Court judge.
Subramanium’s office confirmed to The Indian Express that the senior advocate has officially withdrawn his candidature and wished not be not reconsidered by the Supreme Court collegium, which had sent his name to the Law Ministry for confirmation as a judge.
The government, however, cleared the names of senior advocate Rohinton Nariman, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel for elevation to the SC Bench but asked the collegium to give a second thought on Subramanium’s candidature.
As protocol would demand, Subramanium communicated his withdrawal to Chief Justice of India R M Lodha by writing him a nine-page letter, in which he said he felt “let down” by the charges against him and that there was a “malicious” campaign to discredit him.
The letter added: “I’m fully conscious that my independence as a lawyer is causing apprehensions that I will not toe the government line. This factor has been decisive in refusing to appoint me.” He said that the alleged “negative” reports by the CBI and IB were only “half-truths.”
A “negative” report by the CBI and the IB was apparently behind the government’s rejection of Subramanium’s elevation as a judge ofthe Supreme Court.
The report, which sources in the CBI described as a “categorical opinion”, was sent to the Law Ministry. The ministry had sent a query to the investigating agency in the wake of reports that Subramanium had, as SG, met with the lawyer for 2G scam accused former telecom minister A Raja in hisoffice, in the presence of CBI officers in charge of the investigation.
The CBI’s secret communication to the ministry has confirmed that Subramanium was not engaged by the agency in the 2G matter at that time.
Significantly, however, the report has also referred to Subramanium’s alleged “link” to former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, whose intercepted phone conversations are under CBI scrutiny.