NEW DELHI: Senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium, whose name was left out by the Centre for elevation as Supreme Court judge, today emerged as the first choice of Chief Justice of India R M Lodha to try the high and mighty in the coal blocks scam cases.
"If I failed in something you (lawyers appearing in the matter) persuade him," the CJI, who was heading the three-judge bench said when Subramanium's name was suggested among others to be considered as the Special Public Prosecutor for prosecution of cases arising out of the coalgate.
"We want a person of impeccable integrity and fine legal mind," Justice Lodha said.
The remarks come in the background of Subramanium writing to the CJI withdrawing his consent for elevation as the Supreme Court judge.
Justice Lodha had expressed his displeasure that Subramanium preferred to make his decision public when he was on an overseas assignment.
While deliberations on the issue of SPP were underway, newly-appointed Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar was in agreement with the CJI over Subramanium as SPP in the coal blocks allocation scam cases, saying that he has been special counsel in several other cases including Parliament attack case.
The CJI said "consent" of the person would be necessary for considering him as SPP and it should not be restricted to the lawyers practising only in Delhi.
The Supreme Court collegium headed by the CJI had recommended names of four eminent persons as judges of the apex court but the government cleared the names of Chief Justices of Calcutta and Orissa High Courts, Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goyal respectively, and senior lawyer Rohinton Nariman, leaving out the former Solicitor General.
Subramanium had on June 25 withdrawn from being considered for appointment as Supreme Court judge and had accused the Modi government of "brazenly" ordering CBI to "scrounge" for "dirt" against him to scuttle his elevation.
Subramanium, who had assisted the Supreme Court in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which Amit Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narender Modi is now an accused, had said that he was being "targeted" because of his independence and integrity.
Subramanium had sent a nine-page letter to the CJI withdrawing his consent to be appointed as a judge saying that he did not want his elevation to be "the subject matter of any politicisation".