Is it ethical for AG’s son to appear against SEBI in a CBI case involving cheating of investors?

India needs a well defined set of rules to resolve conflicts of interest so justice is not only fair but appears to be fair

India needs a well defined set of rules to resolve conflicts of interest
India needs a well defined set of rules to resolve conflicts of interest

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]ttorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s lawyer son Samir Rohatgi appeared against Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) for a company called PACL, popularly known as Pearl Group involved in cheating of investors. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already conducted massive raids against the Chandigarh based Pearl Group (Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited – PACL) for money laundering of Rs.45,000 crores ($6.76 billion). CBI had already confiscated Rs. 5000 crores ($752 million) worth properties of the politically well connected company based in Punjab.

The Supreme Court (SC)’s February 2, 2016 proceedings show that Attorney General’s son Samir Rohatgi appeared for the company against SEBI, which wanted to protect the investors. As per the SC documents, Samir was assisting lawyer of top lawyers Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi and C A Sundaram. This shows that Attorney General’s son was closely involved in the legal affairs with the Pearl Group, which is facing CBI and SEBI probe for massive cheating of common man through Ponzi schemes and money laundering.

Is it ethical for an Attorney General’s son to involve in such cases? As Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi is bound to protect the interests of the SEBI, the CBI and common man in a massive cheating case involving Rs.45,000 crores ($6.76 billion). The legal strategies of CBI and SEBI must have the stamp of Attorney General in protecting the interest of common man in such sensitive cases. So is it fair for his son to appear as lawyer on the opposite side? Is son’s appearance for a scamster company a hindrance or embarrassment to the investigators of CBI and SEBI?

Did the notorious Pearl Group purposefully catch country’s top law officers son on their side, while CBI and SEBI were putting heat on them for massive cheating of public money? Will this move be an embarrassment to the Attorney General father, when his son appears on the opposite side in such a case involving public interest?

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]ttorney General Rohatgi was a top corporate lawyer before he was appointed by the NDA government as Attorney General. He was an advocate of several corporates caught for corruption by CBI and ED during the UPA tenure. Rohatgi was a lawyer for 2G scamsters, Italian killer marines etc and after he became Attorney General, he could not represent the government on these cases. So the Government’s side ends up being represented by junior lawyers.

It is a million dollar question as to why the NDA Government appointed such a person as Attorney General, who is weighed down by the heavy baggage of having represented several accused by CBI and ED in the previous regime. Now, his son Samir Rohatgi appears against CBI and ED, that too in a sensitive case. Is this ethical?

To find some answers, we looked at the United States Judicial System, as to how they resolve such conflicts of interest. Here is a detailed explanation of how to handle Conflicts of interest, by the state of Rhode Island in the United States. There is a formal procedure that lays out how the concerned official has to detail such conflicts of interest and fill in a form with the Ethics Commission.

Below find the details of the Pearl Group case:
Conflicts of interest in cases in India Page 1
Conflicts of interest in cases in India Page 2

Only the first two pages are shown. The entire document can be viewed here.

1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.52 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.

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Team PGurus


  1. I was against the appointment of Rohtagi right from the beginning.It is high timr Sri Modiji kickrd out these Mafiosos from his govt.AJ sakuni, Rohtogi and all those who are lutyens.

  2. First is it ethical for AG(Read BJP’s) son to argue with COng. top lawyers. Is there any dealing between them ?
    God only knows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. My take on this issue is the following: As Sanir is a lawyer by profession and hopefully economically independent of his father, he is entitled to take up any case he deems appropriate. His father being the AG and hence pitched opposite his client is to my mind no bar to Samir appearing fro his clients.
    As far as Mukul Rohatgimis concerned, he is a public servant and as the government’s lawyer, he has to argue for the State. Since there is a golden rule that FairPlay should not only be practised but must also be seen to be so , it would be appropriate for MR to recuse himself from dealing with any case where his son is professionally pitched against him. If there are far too many such instances, MR may have to consider recusing himself wholly from his office and step down as the AG. But the choice would be entirely his.

  4. There is no governance for lawyers, they can appear for anyone and everyone. similarly they can also abstain themselves for not appearing by charging a fee.

    Lawyers are there in every political party and whoever is not in power makes a killing by appearing for most of the cases for or against the government. the classic example is Mr. Ram J who has appeared for every crook in the country and justifies by some vague maxim, unless proved, no one is guilty.

    When Nyaya overtakes Dharma, these things are bound to happen. India was a country of Dharma and not Nyaya. It was British who inculcated law to the country and thus we had lawlessness. Whatever is Nyaya is not always Dharma but whatever is Dharma has to be Nyaya.

    Any amount of written Rules will not be able to regulate governance conflicts, Indians believe in the maxim whatever is not written can well be done.

    • all these unscruplous immoral or enethical oldies who claim close proximity with past or present Powers at Delhi be got compulsorily retired, debarred for practicing after they attain a certain age, or after they demit office of profit being in Govt.service in some or other capacity such as Minister/legislator/holders of public office etc.

  5. I don’t understand the logic of appointing mukul rohatgi as AG who has represented crooks especially balwa as a lawyer.The govt. position of AG/SG needs only to be appointees who have been government lawyers not from professional class.Conflict of interest is a huge issue and is a criminal act to allow dubious characters like rohatgi to be AG.Shame on modi and his dubiousness.If you want to change this climate of crookedness between government,politicians and vested groups you don’t go around appointing a wheeler dealer like jaitley or a rohatgi.Modi is looking more and more like a fake job like obama has turned out to be.


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