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BJP's Ram slams Raman Rajya

Chhattisgarh High Court will give its order on the bail plea of Dr Binayak Sen and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha on Thursday, 10th February. Prosecution wound up its arguments on the 9th taking a little over an hour. Ram Jethmalani and Surinder Singh had argued for almost four hours over two days for suspension of sentence earlier in the end of January. Justice T P Sharma, the senior judge in the two bench court was extremely well- versed with the ins and outs of the case and, did give prosecution a few uncomfortable moments. Justice T P Sharma was also the state law secretary when the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act was formulated. On Wednesday, two members from the European Union, one representative of Amnesty International were also present in the court.

As we await for the order, this is the complete interview with eminent jurist and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, a part of it has already played. Speaking for the first time after his return from Chhattisgarh, Mr Jethmalani said that the prosecution is ill-advised and unsustainable, the motive is to see Binayak Sen damned and, that he has not mortgaged his conscience to his party.

Rupashree Nanda:Just as defense was winding up its arguments, an advocate moved the court seeking enhancement of the sentence, offering more proof, stating that a Bastar shutdown post the Binayak Sen conviction was evidence of his involvement with Maoists. How do you perceive this development?

Ram Jethmalani:I think it is a very, very foolish and almost an absurd kind of intervention. This is just trying to interfere with the administration of justice. Why did these people not go to the trial court? You cannot come to the appellate court for the first time and make this kind of tamasha. This is a disgrace and I am surprised that some kind of advocate has taken up this job. But, anyway, I do not wish to interfere in the professional freedom of some lawyer. To my mind, it is totally, totally, condemnable. This is not the way justice has to be administered in this country. The man has been sentenced to life imprisonment ...for what, for sedition? For an offence which the Supreme Court has long ago held, after we became independent, offence of sedition means that you must incite violence. There is neither an allegation nor a finding by the trial court that he has incited any violence. So, I think all this is trying to pressurize the judiciary for a totally, totally obnoxious and perverse motive. And that motive is that somebody is interested in seeing that Binayak Sen is damned.

Rupashree Nanda:Who and why? Who is interested in seeing Binayak Sen damned and why?

Ram Jethmalani: Well, I don't know. There must be people who are involved in the politics of the state. There are people who think that they have to make inroads into the tribal vote. Binayak Sen has done the greatest sevice to that area. He built hospitals, he is a trained doctor. According to me he should get the Bharat Ratna. According to me, this man should not be in jail for even a single day. But that man was locked up in prison for two years and when the matter came to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court did not take even five minutes to release him on bail.

Rupashree Nanda: There is a difference between then and now. Then he was an undertrial. Now, he is an accused?

Ram Jethmalani: Now, he is a convict. But this conviction is absurd. I do not want to discuss the merits of a pending appeal. But, according to me this conviction is perverse.

Rupashree Nanda: Binayak Sen has himself said in his statement that his prosecution is malafide. He has alleged that it is persecution. How would you treat this statement by your client?

Ram Jethmalani: He has used very polite language about what has happened to the poor fellow. It is a case of no evidence. The allegation is that he collected letters from somebody and gave them to somebody outside jail. Jail authorities have said that whenever he came to jail, there was such a strict watch over him that his taking charge of the letters and diverting them to somebody out of jail is a total impossibility. This is prosecution evidence. But these idiots, these hoodlums they don't even know what the case against him is ...and, they have no business in talking like this. To my mind, these people should be locked up.

Rupashree Nanda: Who should be locked up?

Ram Jethmalani: These people who are creating this kind of trouble. And when I went to the airport, I got a reception...

Rupashree Nanda: You were heckled?

Ram Jethmalani: I was almost assaulted. What do they think? And it was done by a lawyer? A lawyer should know better. A lawyer should know that I have a right to defend a person. And everybody has right to be defended. And if you stop defending people you do not like then you become terrorists yourself. You become law breakers yourself.

Rupashree Nanda: What does that tell you about the BJP government in Chhattisgarh. Is this political persecution. Ilina Sen has also said that crossing Chhattisgarh is like crossing another border?

Ram Jethmalani: I am not interested in the politics of Chhattisgarh. But I can tell you that the prosecution is thoroughly ill-advised. Ill-advised and unsustainable. I may be wrong. I am not even supposed to express this opinion to you. I am telling you because you have waited for three hours to know my opinion. My opinion is that it is a very scandalous prosecution against a very honest citizen of India.

Rupashree Nanda: Interveners feel their husbands have been killed in Maoist violence. Where is the justice for them? They do see Binayak Sen as a traitor?

Ram Jethmalani: Somebody has been killed in Maoist violence does not mean that Binayak Sen is responsible for it.

Rupashree Nanda: The ATS unit of Maharashtra has slapped an FIR against Ilina Sen...

Ram Jethmalani: Have you ever heard of such a stupid FIR. That you did not inform that some people are coming to attend a conference. Has the government which is being accused of having committed a dacoity of 1500 billion dollars the time to file this kind of a trumpery complaint against the poor woman. It is stupid. According to me it is a sin. It is a breach of the law and the constitution. The government has lost its conscience.

Rupashree Nanda: Sir, do do you feel that you are standing against your own party in Chhattisgarh. How does that make you feel as a person?

Ram Jethmalani: I have got my independent thinking. I have not mortgaged my conscience to my party. Nor have I mortgaged my professional integrity and adherence to the rules of professional conduct and etiquette to anybody. So please don't bring in my party. I don't think that my party has passed a resolution that Mr Binayak Sen should not be defended.

Rupashree Nanda: Do you sometimes feel that you are the right person in the wrong party? Would it have been better if you had joined some other party?

Ram Jethmalani: Please don't ask me about my party. You enter a party because you have less differences with them than you have with other parties. Today, I believe that the Congress party has the most corrupt government in the history of India. They are responsible for the poverty in the country. They are entertaining dishonest and corrupt people. They have looted the country, who have committed a dacoity on the assets of poor people in the country. Binayak Sen has done nothing of the kind.