New Delhi: Gopal Subramanium, a top lawyer for the previous government, has said he no longer wants to be considered for promotion to a Supreme Court judge. "I am sorry that the Supreme Court did not stand up for me," said Mr Subramanium, 56, to NDTV.
His decision comes after the government rejected Mr Subramanium from a list of four names recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges by a panel headed by the Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha. (Read: Why Gopal Subramanium is no Longer Running For Supreme Court Judge)
In a letter to the Chief Justice withdrawing his candidature, Mr Subramanium, who was Solicitor General for Dr Manmohan Singh's government, accused the government of a "dirt-digging exercise" and said he is being targeted for "displaying integrity and independence" in a case that led to murder charges against Amit Shah, a top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He added that he had "no personal vengeance or grudge" against Amit Shah and allegations of his bias against the BJP leader were "puerile and childish." (Watch the full interview here)
He also said he felt "let down by the judiciary" because it failed to assert itself as the government overruled its recommendation.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refused to comment.
The government was reportedly told by the CBI that Mr Subramanium violated protocol by meeting with the lawyer for A Raja, the former union minister who is accused of masterminding what has been dubbed "the 2G scam" and involves the gifting of out-of-turn mobile network licenses to companies who allegedly paid big kickbacks. Mr Subramanium denies the charge. He also refutes another accusation by the CBI against him -that he was gifted the rights to use a swimming pool at a five-star hotel in Delhi by Niira Radia, who functioned as a lobbyist for some of India's top telecom firms.
Mr Subramanium has linked the government's stand against him to his role in the investigation of the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was shot by the Gujarat Police in 2005. The police falsely alleged that the small-time criminal they had killed was a terrorist. Amit Shah was then Home Minister of Gujarat and has been charged by the CBI with murder in this case.
"I am not biased against any government," said Mr Subramanium, responding to suggestions that the new government may have penalized him for being seen as anti-BJP.
Mr Subramanium resigned as Solicitor General in 2011 after the UPA government appointed a private lawyer to fight the 2G case in court.