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Nov 27, 2012 at 11:21am IST

Ram Jethmalani questions Jaitley's role in CBI chief appointment row

New Delhi: Suspended Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Jethmalani has taken his criticism of his party leaders one step further. On Tuesday morning, in a letter addressed to the BJP Parliamentary Board, the senior Supreme Court lawyer poured vitriol over not just party chief Nitin Gadkari, whom he has been pressing to resign for the past few weeks, but also Arun Jaitley, who, he alleged had a role to play in the CBI Director appointment row.

In the letter, Jethmalani said that the lawyers representing Delhi police commisioner Neeraj Kumar, who had challenged the government's decision to drop his name from the list of people whose names had been proposed for the CBI Director's post, in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) were virtually Jaitley's juniors. "It is very improbable that the litigation before CAT was not known to him and I presume that you have also acted on advice of Mr Arun Jaitely," Jethmalani added.

He further accused Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, of not consulting him on the Lokpal issue. "Though I am a senior member of the Rajya Sabha and a founder of the BJP, your present leaders either in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha have never once discussed with me anything about the LokPal Bill," he said.

In a scathing attack on Gadkari, Jethmalani said that he would bring the party down. Jethmalani added that the BJP's decision to suspend him would not have any effect on him as "my standing in the profession of law and the field of politics as well as the affection and respect that I enjoy from sections of the people of India does not depend on my membership of Parliament".

"Your order of suspension is ultravires and usurpation of the power of the Parliamentary Board. Besides, no situation had arisen in which you should have proceeded without speaking to me and complying with ordinary decencies of a quasi-judicial office which you hold," Jethmalani wrote. "It may be that you do not carry any prejudice against me but in this matter it is not actual prejudice which vitiates your decision but a reasonable suspicion of it. I do entertain this suspicion," he added.

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