AN anonymous letter has been sent to several authorities, including ABI (abinet.org) that has blown the lid on alleged impropriety by Advocate Shekhar Jagtap, practicing in Bombay High Court. The letter details how Advocate Shekhar Jagtap has continued representing an accused person with a clear conflict of interest despite being appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in a connected matter.
On November 22, 2022 an anonymous letter was sent to The Bar Council of India, The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, The Bar Association of Bombay High Court and top Media Houses including news portal ABI (Akela Bureau of Investigation). The letter has given references of several news articles published in reputed media outlets India Today, Times of India, The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Asian Times, The Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times, Mid Day and Republic TV. The anonymous letter uses these articles to buttress his claims that Advocate Shekhar Jagtap has been acting in a way that exhibits clear conflict of interest towards his clients, as well as towards the State, which has appointed him as an SPP.
ABI cannot speculate as to whether the anonymous letter writer is a whistleblower, a good samaritan or a competitor of Advocate Shekhar Jagtap. However his research and study on Advocate Jagtap’s practices seem extensive. He has highlighted several contradictions in Shekhar Jagtap’s practice and appearances after reading news articles about him and has complained to several authorities based on that.
According to the letter Shekhar Jagtap was an Advocate for Sanjeev Palande, Personal Secretary (PS) of the then Home Minister, Maharashtra State, Anil Deshmukh. Sanjeev Palande and Anil Deshmukh have been arrested after then IPS Param Bir Singh exposed Deshmukh’s alleged corrupt practices for extorting Rs 100 crore from dance bars through API Sachin Vaze. In turn, the crime branch of Mumbai Police registered an extortion case against Param Bir Singh. A few days later Shekhar Jagtap was appointed as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the Param Bir Singh case. However, the letter points out that despite being appointed as an SPP and representing the State of Maharashtra for prosecuting Param Bir Singh, Advocate Shekhar Jagtap also continued representing and defending Sanjeev Palande, which is not only unethical but also a huge conflict of interest.
“As a concerned citizen, I am horrified to note that an Advocate who is expected to uphold and comply professional ethics and etiquettes as laid down by the Bar Council of India does not uphold the same and acts for the state and co-accused in connected/same matters which is sheer conflicting interest,” quotes the complaint letter.
Shekhar Jagtap is also an Advocate for Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Gawade. Dhananjay Gawade is a suspect person in Mansukh Hiren murder case. Mansukh Hiren’s last location was near the farm house of Dhananjay Gawade at Vasai. Dhananjay Gawade is known to be close to dismissed and arrested PI Pradip Sharma and API Sachin Vaze. Dhananjay Gawade and Sachin Vaze are also accused in an extortion case registered at Manikpur Police Station. Shekhar Jagtap is also representing them as an Advocate in this matter.
For an Advocate, just like a Judge, Justice is not something that must just be done, but also seem to be done. We have seen cases in the past where so many Judges recuse themselves from hearing particular cases to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. It is time advocates learn to do that as well, especially Special Public Prosecutors, who have their own private practice, should take due care and diligence to avoid any form of conflict of interest as it opens the door for all kinds of wrongdoings and allegations.
The letter demands inquiry and action against Shekhar Jagtap.