Additional Advocate General (AAG) of Haryana, Naveen Kaushik, who was allegedly seen assisting the defence counsel in trial proceedings in the Junaid Khan murder case last week, was among the first lawyers to be selected on the government panel when the BJP came to power in the state in 2014.
Kaushik has been associated with the RSS since his childhood, as per his own admission, and is organising secretary of the Bharatiya Bhasha Abhiyan in the north region for the last two-and-a-half years. He is also associated with the Chandigarh unit of Adhivakta Parishad, an RSS-affiliated advocates’ organisation.
Kaushik, against whom the Sessions Judge, Faridabad, has sought action for “suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses” at the trial, has maintained that he had nothing to do with the proceedings of Junaid case. He claims he was there only to help his lawyer friend, who had moved an application before the trial court that evidence should be recorded in Hindi.
“There is nothing against me,” Kaushik told The Indian Express on Monday. “Whenever I am asked to answer, I will provide my explanation, as I have already done. I feel perhaps it was only a misconception and I am hopeful it will be corrected.”
Kaushik said that no explanation has been sought from him from the Advocate Generals (AG) office yet. AG Baldev Raj Mahajan could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Considered close to the M L Khattar government, Kaushik was seen on TV debates in the run-up to 2014 state elections, speaking for the BJP. “He was always introduced as a spokesperson or leader of the party,” said a political expert who had appeared with Kaushik on local channels as a co-panelist on multiple occasions.
Kaushik’s social media profile also provides a peek into his close association with the incumbent government. In one of the photographs uploaded in May 2015, Kaushik is seen with Chief Minister Khattar. “Thanks to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Haryana and Ld. Advocate General Haryana for gracing the occasion of Dinner Hosted be me…,” states the photo-caption. The dinner was hosted with other government lawyers.
Haryana’s Political and Parliamentary Affairs Department on May 25 this year had chosen Kaushik as a member of the state-level organising committee meant for commemorating the birth centenary of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who issued notification on the constitution of the committee, Chief Minister Khattar, and his Cabinet colleagues are in the committee.
Calling the AAG’s appearance in the trial case as “professional misconduct”, the sessions judge in the order had said that the matter should be communicated to Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, “for taking it up with the State Government, Office of Advocate General, Haryana and Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh for taking necessary action against him.”
Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Jai Vir Yadav, told The Indian Express that they are yet to receive any communication on the matter.
The counsel for the victim’s family, R S Cheema, said they will appeal for stay of all proceedings in the trial court on Wednesday, when their plea seeking transfer of the probe to CBI comes up for hearing. “It shows the government is hand in glove with the accused,” Cheema said on the trial court’s latest order.