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Senior Advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has sent a legal notice to UK-based lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla for allegedly defaming his father LM Singhvi in a recently published book.
It is claimed that Zaiwalla has made defamatory, patently false, and vexatious remarks against the senior Singhvi in relation to the Bofors deal, in his book titled Honour Bound.
In his book, Zaiwalla had made an allegation that a certain Indian lawyer was responsible for handing then External Affairs Minister Madhavisinh Solanki an envelope which contained a letter urging the Swiss government to close its inquiry into the kickbacks received by Indian politicians in the Bofors deal. Solanki had later claimed that he was on a plane when a “well respected Indian lawyer in London” had handed him this sealed envelope. Relevant passages in the book read as follows:
“There was a presumption in the Indian Press that this lawyer was me…I knew nothing about it. There was no way I could have got security clearance to board a plane on which I was not travelling… …[Journalist] Vir Sanghvi later told me the person who handed the envelope over might have been the Indian High Commissioner in the UK, Dr. LM Singhvi, who was also a senior lawyer. Because of his diplomatic status, he would have had access and authority to meet the Minister on the plane…”
Passage from Zaiwalla's book, Honour Bound
The legal notice claims that the contents of the book have no iota of truth, and is a deliberate and malicious attempt to defame LM Singhvi, who was a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, a Parliamentarian in both Houses, and India’s longest serving High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. The notice further states,
"Moreover, you [Zaiwalla] have tried, for the first time, after almost three decades to deflect from the long standing allegations (which you yourself refer to as “presumption”) against yourself to manufacture a new story about the late Dr LM Singhvi which was never uttered once by you for over three decades.”