- Trinamool has urged PM to remove Mr Mehta as Solicitor General of India
- The request came after Mr Mehta met Suvendu Adhikari, a BJP leader
- Tushar Mehta said Mr Adhikari had "dropped in unannounced" at his office.
Mamata Banerjee's party on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove Tushar Mehta as Solicitor General of India over his alleged meeting with Suvendu Adhikari, a leader of the ruling BJP being investigated by the CBI in corruption cases.
Tushar Mehta, who represents the CBI in some of the cases, emphatically denied meeting with Mr Adhikari, saying he "dropped in unannounced" on Thursday.
In a letter to PM Modi, MPs of the Trinamool Congress alleged "conflict of interest" in Mr Mehta's meeting with Mr Adhikari, the Leader of Opposition in Bengal, and said he should be "immediately removed" as the central government's top lawyer.
The Trinamool said Mr Adhikari is an accused in various criminal cases being investigated by the CBI, which is represented by the Solicitor General in many of these cases. Mr Mehta meeting such a person raises "some serious questions about the integrity of the post", said the letter signed by three MPs, Derek O'Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Mahua Moitra.
Alleging that the meeting was aimed at influencing the outcome of cases, the letter said the act of the Solicitor General "reeks of impropriety and raises questions of integrity" and taints his post.
Mr Mehta, in response, said there was no question of him meeting with Mr Adhikari.
"Suvendu Adhikari did come to my residence-cum-office yesterday at around 3 pm, 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," Mr Mehta said.
"When my meeting was over and thereafter my (personal secretary) informed me about his arrival, I requested him to convey 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."
Mr Adhikari told reporters that he had gone to Mr Mehta's house to discuss post-poll violence in Bengal and did not get to meet him.
But Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee did not buy claims of an "unannounced visit".
Reports state that Mr Adhikari entered Hon'ble SG's residence in the presence of a cavalcade of officers and stayed there for nearly 30 minutes. Does that imply that a meeting was indeed due?— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) July 2, 2021
As the episode gets murkier, one can only hope that the truth shall surface. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/MiVeCz5CB1
Mr Adhikari is an accused in the Narada sting operation involving bribes taken on camera by Trinamool leaders. Mr Mehta represents the CBI in the Narada case, in which the investigating agency has requested sanction to prosecute Mr Adhikari, the Trinamool pointed out.
The party also said Mr Mehta represented the CBI in the Saradha chit fund case involving the swindle of investors' money, in which Mr Adhikari also faces allegations.
"Such a meeting between an accused in grave offences, with the learned Solicitor General who is advising such investigating agencies by whom the said accused is being investigated, is in direct conflict of interest with his statutory duties," the Trinamool wrote to the PM.