Advocate General (A-G) R. Shunmugasundaram on Monday opposed the appearance of Senior Counsel S.V. Raju, who also holds the post of Additional Solicitor General (ASG), in the Supreme Court on behalf of former Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani in two corruption cases filed against the latter.
Appearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala, the A-G wondered how the ASG could represent the former Minister in the two corruption cases when the Income Tax (I-T) Department had raided the residence of his close aide in July.
However, Mr. Raju, who appeared through a video call, informed the court that he had obtained the permission of the Centre for taking up the private case. Convinced, the Chief Justice told the A-G that the court cannot prevent him from appearing in the case as long as the Centre does not withdraw the permission.
When Mr. Shunmugasundaram said the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) would write to the Centre for withdrawing the permission, the CJ replied that it was up to the agency to pursue a remedy. “It will be well within your rights to do that, but till permission is withdrawn, we will not restrain him,” he said.
Later, the judges decided to pass orders in a couple of days on the question of maintainability raised by the DVAC with respect to two criminal original petitions filed by the former Minister to quash an FIR registered in Chennai in August 2021 and another FIR registered in Coimbatore in March this year.
The DVAC had contended that the quash petitions must be listed only before a single judge who holds the portfolio of hearing cases pending against legislators, and not before the Division Bench, which was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed against the former Minister by the NGO Arappor Iyakkam in 2018.