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Mukul Rohatgi set to be new AG

Ranjit Kumar likely to be appointed SG.

Mukul Rohatgi Mukul Rohatgi

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohatgi is set to be the country’s next top law officer while another senior lawyer Ranjit Kumar is expected to be appointed Solicitor General.

Sources in the government said both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have decided to offer the post of Attorney General (AG) to Rohatgi. Outgoing AG Goolam E Vahanvati resigned on Tuesday and with important cases involving the Centre coming up before the apex court in the coming days, Rohatgi’s appointment as well as that of the SG and other law officers will happen soon. The appointment letters are likely to be issued in the next couple of days.

Interestingly, it was during the previous NDA regime that Rohatgi had a stint as a law officer in the government of India — as additional solicitor general.

One of the country’s highest paid lawyers, Rohatgi has represented the Narendra Modi-led previous Gujarat government in the Supreme Court in many 2002 Gujarat riot and fake encounter death cases, including the Best Bakery and Zahira Sheikh cases.

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Often the first choice of most corporates in their legal tussles, Rohatgi has also successfully defended BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi against the preventive detention order passed by the previous Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh for making a hate speech. He also argued for Anil Ambani before the Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan in the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers. More recently, he appeared for the Italian marines involved in killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. He is also appearing for some 2G scam accused.

Incidentally, his father, Justice Awadh Behari Rohatgi, a former Judge of the Delhi High Court, is well known for the quality of his judicial pronouncements, including some on public property and divorce laws. Before he became a judge, Justice Rohatgi remained on the faculty of the Department of Law, Delhi University, having been appointed to the post for life due to his academic record.

Asked if he would accept the post considering that it would result in substantial decrease in his income, Rohatgi said, “Whatever I am is because of the legal profession. If there is a chance for me to give something back to the country and my profession, money should not be a factor.”

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The man likely to be the next SG, Ranjit Kumar, has also been a regular counsel for the Gujarat government in various matters. These include almost all cases pertaining to post-Godhra riots, Best Bakery and, the recent, snooping row in which the state government was a party.

Meanwhile, except for three additional solicitors general, all other law officers have submitted their resignations to the Law Ministry.

First published on: 28-05-2014 at 02:03:51 am
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