Kolkata: Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MLA and the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, has claimed that a sitting judge of the Calcutta High Court during his recent visit to Delhi met senior advocates who are representing the case of a ‘prime accused’ of major scam.
Although he didn’t reveal the name of the accused, speculations are rife that the man is Vinay Mishra, key accused in the cross-border cattle smuggling case and illegal coal mining in West Bengal.
On December 19, 2020, Mishra renounced his Indian citizenship and reportedly took citizenship of Vanuatu (a South Pacific Ocean Nation), while his brother Vikas Mishra was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in March, 2021.
Seeking an urgent clarification in this matter, Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, “Concerned at reports in circulation that a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court on a visit to Delhi met Senior Advocate of prime accused of major scam pending before HC (High Court). Independence of judiciary is non-negotiable if democracy is to survive.”
His tweet came after the TMC accused him of meeting Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in New Delhi on July 1. Then, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh questioned how Adhikari who is involved in the Narada case is being entertained by Mehta who is appearing on behalf of the CBI in the case.
Responding to Suvendu’s tweet, TMC, MLA, Tapas Roy, said, “First, he should clarify why he went to meet Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. He is also an accused in one of the cases. Why did both of them meet?”.
Hours after Ghosh’s allegation, both Suvendu and Mehta denied meeting each other.
A statement issued (then) by the Solicitor General of India, reads, “Shri Suvendu Adhikari did come to my residence cum office yesterday at around 3:00pm, unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room of my office building and offered him a cup of tea. When my meeting was over and thereafter my PPS informed me about his arrival. I requested my PPS to convey to Mr Adhikari my inability to meet him and apologise as he had to wait. Mr Adhikari thanked my PPS and left without insisting to meet me. The question of my meeting with Mr Adhikari, therefore, did not arise."
Tapas Roy, however, said, the CCTV footage from Mehta’s house needs to inspected to ascertain the truth. “Our All India General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee has asked for CCTV footage from Tushar Mehta’s house – the day when Suvendu visited his place. But so far we haven’t seen any CCTV footage,” Roy said.
On June 18, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s advocate wrote a letter to Chief Justice’s secretary requesting that the hearing of ‘Nandigram recounting case’ which is currently in the single bench of Justice Kaushik Chanda should be re-assigned to another bench ‘in order to avoid any prejudice as Justice Chanda was an active BJP member’.
On July 7, Justice Chanda recused from hearing and imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakhs on Banerjee for the ‘manner in which the application for his recusal was moved.’
News18 tried to contact Suvendu for a comment but he could not be reached.