Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress raised the pitch today on its demand for the removal of Solicitor Genral Tushar Mehta over his alleged meeting with Narada scam accused Suvendu Adhikari, with petitions to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A party delegation visited the President -- formerly an advocate at the Supreme Court -- to submit a letter in which they spoke of the impropriety of such a meeting.
"We have reasons to believe that such a meeting has been organised to influence the outcome of criminal cases where Mr. Adhikari is an accused person, using the high offices of the Solicitor General," the Trinamool wrote to the President. "The act of the Solicitor General to provide an opportunity of an audience to Suvendu Adhikari (is) not only indicative of grave impropriety but also raises troubling doubts about his professional integrity," the letter added.
The alleged meeting between the Solicitor General and Mr Adhikari took place on July 1.
Mr Adhikari -- who beat Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram in the recently held assembly elections and is currently one of the key BJP leaders from the state -- came to Delhi and met Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
After the meeting he visited Mr Mehta's residence, where he remained for 30 minutes.
The Solicitor General has said the BJP leader came "unannounced" and they did not meet. The Trinamool has demanded that he make public the CCTV footage from his residence to prove that was the case.
Pointing out that the Solicitor General is the country's second highest law officer who advises investigating agencies, the letter said, "Your excellency has himself had a glorious career at the Bar, having practiced for long years before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, and is familiar with the rules of practice that enjoin an advocate to act honourably and ethically... The Solicitor General's conduct must be investigated and pending such inquiry, he must tender his resignation".
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, who was part of the delegation that met the President and one of the MPs who signed the letter, later told NDTV that they have demanded strong action.
"How can the accused of Narada case first meets the Home Minister and then goes to Tushar Mehta's house? A common man cannot go to his house. When there is a dispute, it is said that 'I did not meet Suvendu'. Who will believe this?" Ms Moitra said.
"It is their habit to lie. First he said that migrant labourers are not going anywhere, later he also said that there is no oxygen crisis in Delhi," she added, referring to some of the Solicitor General's submissions before various courts.
In May, the Central Bureau of Investigation which is investigating the Narada bribery case, arrested four of six accused leaders – state ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra, and Sovan Chatterjee. Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar said he had given permission for the arrests.
The Trinamool immediately questioned why Suvendu Adhikari was not arrested.
CBI sources told NDTV that that the agency has sought the sanction of the Lok Sabha Speaker for the arrest, since he was a member of the Lower House at the time of the crime. Mr Adhikari is yet to be arrested.
The Narada case involves a sting operation conducted in 2014 by a journalist from Narada news portal, who posed as a businessman planning to invest in Bengal. He gave wads of cash to seven Trinamool MPs, four ministers, one MLA and a police officer as bribe and taped the entire operation.