Senior lawyers like Rajinder Sachar and Kamini Jaiswal have backed the Lokpal Bill drafting committee co-chair Shanti Bhushan and his son and panel member Prashant Bhushan, who face allegations of corruption, while some others declined to comment on the controversy.
Even as Sachar, a former chief justice of Delhi High Court, and Jaiswal described the attack as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘motivated’, others hedged the issue, citing their ignorance of the facts and pre-occupations.
The Bhushans are accused of wrong-doing in land deals in Noida and Allahabad, which they have vigorously denied. They also figure in a controversial audio CD which has purported conversations between Shanti Bhushan, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh and expelled SP member Amar Singh trying to fix a dubious legal deal.
While a Delhi Police source said the CD was not tampered with, the civil activists claimed the CD was fake.
Defending the Bhushans, Jaiswal quipped: ‘Amar Singh is the biggest CD maker in the country. He has a CD on every one in the town.’
She said the attack on the Bhushans was in fact directed against the bench that had heard the 2G scam case and Amar Singh’s tapes case. ‘All this is to derail the verdict by a bench that had taken a strong view on the manner in which the allocation of licences and 2G spectrum was done,’ she claimed.
It is not just the politicians but even the corporate world, hit adversely by the case in the apex court, who are also behind it, contended Jaiswal.
Sachar also described the allegations as ‘unfortunate’ and said associating the representatives of civil society in the drafting of Lokpal Bill, would in no way, compromise the jurisdiction of the government and parliament.
On the allegations against them, he said: ‘Being a friend of Bhushans and as I know them, I am inclined to believe both of them. Frankly I can’t say anything about the CD. It is technical matter and could be left to the experts.’
On the allotment of two farm houses to Shanti Bhushan and his other son Jayant Bhushan, Sachar says it was an open-ended matter and many people got the farm houses. ‘They were not given any preferential treatment. They got it in the second list. If the process of allotment was wrong, then its validity could be gone into,’ he said.
He said that the attack on the representatives of the civil society was unnecessary and was an attempt to sidetrack the real issue of a stringent Lokpal bill.
Some other lawyers were, however, more guarded in their response or declined to comment.
Senior counsel S.B. Sanyal evaded the issue, saying: ‘I don’t want to express any opinion.’
Asked her opinion, another woman lawyer and activist said: ‘I don’t have time at the moment. I am in the midst of a meeting.’
Counsel Shekhar Naphade also declined to comment.
‘I don’t want to say anything. I don’t know the facts. It is allegation by one side and reply by the other. I don’t want to go into it,’ he said.