By Kanu Sarda
Published: 13th Apr 2014 06:00:00 AM
Harish Salve, Senior Advocate
Harish Salve is easily one of India’s most sought-after supermen in their black robes. The senior advocate with his huge frame and magnetic gaze that intimidate many an opponent is a speeding blur as he hops from courtroom to courtroom, dexterously juggling cases—political, cricket or on communal riots. Salve is arguably one of India’s best and highest paid lawyers. His stupefying success rate has earned him an impressive clientele—politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Parkash Singh Badal, corporate chieftains like Keshub Mahindra, Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata and multinationals like Vodafone. But it doesn’t make him the lawyer of the high and mighty alone. He fights pro bono, too—as the amicus curiae in the Gujarat riots case, on environmental matters and the Uphaar case where he even appeared at Tis Hazari. After his back-to-back success in the Vodafone tax and Reliance gas cases, Salve was the go-to guy for India’s embattled corporates during the tenure of UPA II. He even took up temporary residence in London and relocated his entire office so that he could focus exclusively on the Vodafone matter.
Nagpur-born Salve’s connection with Delhi dates back to 1967 when his father N K P Salve was a Lok Sabha member and later a minister. He permanently moved to Delhi in 1976 and joined eminent lawyer Soli J Sorabjee’s team in 1980. He set up an independent practice in the mid-80s and was designated senior counsel in 1992. He was the Solicitor General in 1999 during the NDA regime but after three years he quit over differences with the then Attorney General Sorabjee, an incident he terms “one of the saddest moments in my professional career.”
“Delhi is a beautiful city with rich culture and heritage. Its most happening aspect is the friendliness of its people. The buzz that Delhi has is missing in other cities. Besides, one can go to many kinds of concerts here. Winter is the best time to enjoy Delhi,” he speaks of the city he calls his own.
There are many facets to Salve; the amateur musician plays jazz on the piano and has gourmet tastes.
The high-flying legal eagle spends a lot of time in the sky, and his favourite foreign destinations are London and New York. When he is not dining at The Waterside Inn in Bray on the river Thames, he appreciates the Wasabi restaurant in Delhi the most. “I usually start with fresh sashimi and move on to black cod miso and Chilean sea bass. You don’t just go to a restaurant for its food. It is the overall experience that keeps you going back for more.” Delhi couldn’t have a better advocate.
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