Did Arun Jaitley accept Legal Retainership Fee from Anil Ambani’s firms? Would that be a conflict of interest?

Did Jaitley representing ADAG in 2008-09 and then arguing against 2G Scam in the parliament (ADAG was one of the accused) constitute a conflict of interest?

Did Jaitley representing ADAG in 2008-09 and then arguing against 2G Scam in the parliament (ADAG was one of the accused) constitute a conflict of interest?
Did Jaitley representing ADAG in 2008-09 and then arguing against 2G Scam in the parliament (ADAG was one of the accused) constitute a conflict of interest?

Did Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accept Legal Retainer fees from Anil Ambani’s Group (ADAG) of Companies? With the controversies raging around Anil Ambani’s firm bagging offset contracts of Rafale deal, this question needs to be answered. Because, as Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley initiated the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s aborted Rafale deal and this resulted in the entry of Anil Ambani, whose ADAG has been mired in all sorts of controversies from corruption allegations to bankruptcy.

We at PGurus noticed a year ago a series of tweets by the then Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashish Khetan alleging that Arun Jaitley accepted a Legal Retainership fee of Rs.36 lakhs each in January 2008 and January 2009 from the ADAG. Khetan also said that the money was transferred through ICICI Bank A/c No: 000405031592. He said that Jaitley received Legal Retainership fee of Rs.36 lakhs each on January 3, 2008, and January 8, 2009. Though these tweets are over a year old, Arun Jaitley is yet to answer them.

The first two tweets from a series of tweets on April 4, 2017, by Ashish Khetan are reproduced below. In other tweets, Khetan asked Jaitley if it is fair for him (Jaitley) to entertain weekly visits of Anil.

Not illegal but…

There are no legal issues about this acceptance of payments by Jaitley as till mid-2009, as he was practicing law vigorously. But there was a morality issue. In those days Anil Ambani’s firms were involved in 2G scam controversies and we have seen Jaitley as BJP leader speaking against the 2G Scam. Another issue is that as Defence Minister, Jaitley dusted off the UPA’s aborted Rafale deal and lo and behold, his former client Anil Ambani’s newly floated Defence firm bagged offset contracts from French firm Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale. This does not pass the sniff test.

In this connection, PGurus wants to know if after mid-2009, did the advocate firm(s) being run by his daughter Sonali Jaitley/ son Rohan Jaitley / son-in-law Jayesh Bakshi receive any Legal Retainerships from Anil Ambani’s firms? Jaitley stopped the legal practice after he became Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in mid-2009.

The Mehul Choksi/ Nirav Modi connection

It is well known that Jaitley’s daughter’s legal firm accepted huge legal fees from the now fugitive Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi’s firms in December 2017, a few weeks before they escaped from India. That time, Jaitley and his daughter’s firm gave an excuse that they have returned the money after coming to know about cases against these fugitives. Is that a justifiable explanation Mr. Jaitley?[1]

Mr. Jaitley, we expect an answer from you now on Ashish Khetan’s allegations of accepting Legal Retainership from Anil Ambani’s firms.  Also please state whether your son/ daughter’s legal firms are accepting Legal Retainership from Anil Ambani’s firms.

References:

[1] Arun Jaitley must speak on the tainted firm Gitanjali Gems of the PNB Scam engaging daughter’s legal firmMar 18, 2018, PGurus.com

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Earlier in 2015, PM Modi had announced that India will buy 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets and in September 2016, India signed a direct deal with the French government to purchase for 7.87-billion-euro deal. As a part of the contract, India will get latest weapons like the Meteor and Scalp missiles besides a five-year support package that assures high availability of the fighter and India will pay a 15% advance and deliveries to start in three years.

  2. Just like PC, AJ is another master-dealer lawyer, superelite member of the Delhi Lutyens circle, who could lobby effectively towards consolidation of Modi as the PM candidate. While no one questions AJ’s commitment to the RSS/ABVP, he has got to collect his portion of the retainer share for the his services rendered to the party and its funders. AJ played a crucial role along with Rajnath in the Delhi/UP BJP caucus towards sidelining Sushma Swaraj, LKA and MMJ towards anointing Modi as the PM nominee. In this power struggle, key Financial experts and legal luminaries and think tanks like A. Shourie, Jaswant Singh, R. Jethmalani and Sinhas were totally kept out. So, AJ as the King maker, ensured he retains the plum and key portfolios of both Defence and Finance at one point. For Modi and the BJP – Where from the major big chunk of money poured in for the 2014 BJP campaign – the criss crossing of India on private jets and chopper? It is all from the A&A Conglomerate [Ambanis and Adanis]. So, both AJ and Modi have their pay backs dues to do for the Corporate Ponchos looking after their personal as well as party’s welfare. This is how Indian elections run. So, no wonder inexperienced Reliance Defence got the defence contract. Cho’s Gurumurthy, Sree Iyer, Nalapat along with Subramnian Swamy should bring this up and urge Modi to make due course correction within the BJP. They should listen to Nagpur HQ views and avoid infighting. AJ has done little to bring back black money and in many ways has shielded and stalled PC’s case going through the proceedings; but for Dr. Swamy’s interference, this case would have gone in cold storage and legal course. Summary: PC and AJ are high end lawyers quite accustomed to look at fat retainer fees for every word they speak. Having said that when we weigh them on a balance, the C-charge in support of C-Company tilts down at 100 Tonnes vs. 10 Kg for AJ. Let BJP shut the crap on Rafale deal, make the due course corrections, be more alert to avoid more and more internal squabbles, differences in views with the Nagpur HQ and move on. It is now for Modi to do the reshuffle within the top cadre. AJ should get the much needed rest he deserves, go more to the Delhi Cricket Club, and should join the ranks of LKA, MMS and RJ with regard to party work. Rotation is better. Power Corrupts….. so give the reigns to Arun Shourie who is seething with no powers at this time!

  3. This is just a limited technical reply to your point on whether AJ had conflict of interest in permitting award of offset contract to Anil Ambani.

    Are we generically saying that just because X engaged a future minister in charge of a department as legal advisor in the past, for a few lakhs, X should be denied the opportunity to do business in that future Minister’s department? Does that sound fair to X? If X were to go to SC, what will SC rule?

    You’ve looked at it from the minister’s angle, but please also look at it from the business person’s angle.

    Your other points may be valid, which I’m not contesting.

  4. Is PM a MMS version2? BHAKTS everywhere are saying blackmail or helplessness… If you are in power, and want to remain in power, you have to work for your people and most importantly to those who voted ie salaried Middle class / hindus. Has he done anything for salaried middle class or enabled removing the clutches of goverment on hindu temples???
    May be there is no alternative now, but we cannot be fooled or remain a mere mute spectator .. RSS must enter politics and show what nationalism is…

  5. You are correct, Madangopalji.

    There is no doubt Modi is aware of the ‘malefactions’ & ‘misdeeds’ of AJ

    It remains to be seen whether he is a ‘helpless spectator’ under some blackmail or he is planning the ‘weeding out operations’ after obtaining the second mandate.

  6. Dear Mr Iyer, with all due respects to you , your untiring efforts to expose corrupt people, (your wrote book on frauds committed by ndtv and book on c-company, now AJ. Is anything happening?? you rightly said in one of your previous postings, though nda in power but country ruled by upa.
    all corrupt officers still in power and helping the corrupt ministers of previous regime.
    it seems PM is either helpless or a silent spectator and unable to do anything?
    all corrupt are roaming aroungd free.
    can we see any change to happen?

    • Anything or something in this world happens only by few committed individuals. rest (including me) can be spectators at best. but hope never be like arun shourie.

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