KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday orally asked the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) as to why the Vigilance Director did not seek legal opinion of the Advocate General, instead of obtaining it from outside, in the bar bribery case. Then, Advocate General K P Dandapani pointed out that he had declined to give legal opinion because of the political nature of the case.
The court said the AG was not below any office other than the State Government. To which, the AG replied that even the attempt to seek opinion from the Attorney General was thwarted. In the case under reference, after scrutinising the factual report, the Director of Vigilance had sought opinion of the Attorney General of India and Solicitor General of India, as was sought to be done in the Susheel Kumar case. “But, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General did not respond to the request. The opinion of the Advocate General of the State or any law officer under him was not attempted as the accused is also the Law Minister of the State. The Director made an attempt to get the best opinion from the other experts on the issue,” stated the AG. “Accordingly, senior lawyers of the Supreme Court L Nageswara Rao and Mohan Parasaran, who were the erstwhile Additional Solicitor General and Solicitor General of India, gave their opinion. The Vigilance Court cannot question the wisdom of the Director in seeking opinion on the issue, which is a matter totally within the domain of the Department. The court was not justified in embarking upon unwarranted criticism on the issue and the observation made in this regard is biased,” the AG submitted.
The AG also pointed out that the whole exercise seemed to have been done by the special judge on the apprehension that there was pressure and influence on the investigating officer from various quarters, including the director. “However, the investigating officer has clarified openly that there was no pressure on him,” submitted the AG.