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Ram Jethmalani withdrew offer to defend Sonia, Rahul Gandhi after Parliament disruption

PTI 14 Jan 2016, 21:49:01 IST
PTI

New Delhi: Senior advocate and MP Ram Jethmalani had offered to defend Congress President Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case but "revoked" it when she did not act on his "advice" to allow Parliament to function in the normal way.

He had made the offer to Gandhi in a letter on December 10, 2015 telling her that he had "no reason to doubt" her stand that the prosecution instituted against her and Rahul by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is "false and malicious".

"But this is to be established in Court and not by tumult and disorder in the Rajya Sabha", he told Gandhi at a time when Congress paralysed Rajya Sabha during the winter session.

The former BJP leader told Gandhi that as a senior practising counsel and Parliamentarian he was "not happy" with what has been happening in the Rajya Sabha House "for the last few days".

"The institution of Parliament is suffering total loss of public respect. This does not augur well for Indian democracy," he said in his letter.

Jethmalani today put the letters written by him to Gandhi on his blogspot. He told Gandhi that he neither needed any fees nor any other favour from her. "My services will be service to the nation".

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"I hope you will allow the Parliament to function the normal way", he had said concluding the letter in which he had also referred to himself as an "expelled" member of the BJP and "you know my role in recent Bihar elections". Jethmalani had pitched for Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister.

Two days later, he wrote another letter to Gandhi saying "you neither acknowledge my letter nor followed my advice. The Parliament was not allowed to function. Now I stand relieved from my promise to you".

Incidental, the blogspot also has a letter from Gandhi dated Dec 11 acknowledging his communication and saying "I appreciate your kind offer of assistance".

Jethmalani wrote to Sonia on December 10 soon after the Delhi High Court dismissed her petition seeking quashing of summons issued to her and Rahul in a complaint case filed by Swamy alleging irregular transfer of shares from Associated Journals Ltd to Young Indian Ltd.

"I know you have many great lawyers in the party. Still, my services are available to you if you need," Jethmalani had said.

"You will be surprised to receive this letter from me. But if you know my clean politics and professional integrity, you should not be surprised at all", he wrote to Sonia.

In a letter to a newspaper which had published the story of his offer yesterday, Jethmalani today said he did not give a certificate of innocence to Sonia.

"It is not the role of a lawyer. A lawyer is not entitled to refuse to defend anyone merely because he believes him to be guilty. This is prohibited by express statutory rules of Professional Conduct framed by the Bar Council of India and known to everyone who claims to be educated....

"When Mrs. Gandhi did not act on my advice to allow Parliament to function in the normal alway, I was entitled to revoke my offer," Jethmalani said.