The petition filed in the Supreme Court relating to the death of Special CBI judge BH Loya has assumed a fresh facet of controversy, after it was claimed that Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave “bullied” the petitioner to withdraw the plea.
Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla, who is one of the petitioners in the case, claimed, while appearing on Times Now, that Dave, who was initially slated to argue the matter in the Supreme Court, ended up persuading him into withdrawing the petition.
After Poonawalla had refused to do so, the Senior Advocate refused to appear in the matter. Advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma ended up representing Poonawalla during yesterday’s hearing.
When the case was called up for hearing, Dave rose and pleaded before the Bench that the case be withdrawn. He told the Bench that, “I am not appearing for any party in the two matters. But I am advising Bombay Lawyers Association whose petition is before the Bombay High Court on January 23. So please do not entertain these petitions as the outcome will affect the said petition”.
The Bench heard him patiently and said that they would hear the petitioner’s arguments.
Later, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising told the Bench that the matter was listed before the Bombay High Court, and hence, this matter should be withdrawn. According to Poonawalla, she said that she was representing the Bombay Lawyers Association, which was not a party to the matter in Supreme Court.
After hearing the petitioner’s counsel, however, the Bench stated that the plea raises serious issues, and that they would have to hear the same.
Poonawalla also claimed that Dave had strongly suggested that he withdraw the petition since it was to be heard by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. Further, Dave allegedly told Poonawalla that a fine was likely to be imposed upon him by the Court if he did not withdraw the petition.
Dave, on his part, has denied allegations that he bullied Poonawalla into withdrawing the petition. He rather said,
“The attempt to brief me – and I appear pro bono in many such matters – was to get credibility to the outcome of the petition, which I believe would have been against the cause of justice. The whole approach of the petitioners, who were so keen to have the matter heard before bench of Justice Arun Mishra was a mystery even after being told by me that they will not get justice from that Bench since Justice Arun Mishra has close relations with top BJP leaders which I had seen myself in his own house on wedding reception of his nephew in December 2016. So, the desire to have matter heard there was curious.”
“I rather told Poonawalla that if your cause is genuine, let us mention the matter before CJI Dipak Misra to withdraw the matter from Justice Arun Mishra’s Bench, to which he declined. The moment he declined, I told him I will not appear for him because it was a set up..
“Initially, I thought Poonawalla’s petition was genuine and I now realise that it was a self serving petition perhaps at the instance of Amit Shah.”
Dave has sent screenshots to Bar & Bench of his correspondence with the Congress leader as proof that he had only suggested that the petition be withdrawn.
He also stated,
“If this is “bullying”, according to Times Now, reporting without knowing facts, it is clear that they are acting at the instance of those who want to suppress the truth in the Loya case.”
Dave also said,
“It is my deep regret that I offered to appear for Mr. Poonawalla pro bono since I felt it was a genuine case.”
Tehseen Poonawalla was not available for comment at the time of publishing this story. However, he had tweeted a thread of comments on this issue.