ON November 29, 2022 ABI (abinet.org) had published an article based on an anonymous letter against advocate Shekhar Jagtap of Bombay High Court who had continued providing legal representation to an accused even after being appointed as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in a connected matter. It has now been revealed that a Bench of Bombay High Court once chided Advocate Shekhar Jagtap and called him a Sheikh Chilli. It was also revealed that Shekhar Jagtap had presented himself to be a UK based lawyer.
The incident (on September 12, 2022)
Bollywood actress Jia Khan’s mother Rabia Khan had hired Advocate Shekahr Jagtap for a case against Suraj Pancholi son of actor Aditya Pancholi. Jia Khan had committed suicide on June 3, 2013 and case was transferred to the CBI on July 3, 2014. Rabia Khan alleged that her daughter was murdered. Shekhar Jagtap and Sairuchita Chowdhary were pointing fingers at Mumbai police and CBI’s investigation. They have specifically alleged that Mumbai police and CBI have not collected proper evidence.
The Justices AS Gadkari and MN Jadhav were not convinced by the merits of Shakhar Jagtap’s argument and commented “You are jeopardising your own case by filing such a petition after your client’s examination in chief is over and cross-examination is underway. Where will you stand? Have you considered these aspects? You are disclosing your own cards, which you would have made during arguments. You are giving them (Pancholi’s lawyers) all the details now. It will be detrimental to your client’s interests. Try and understand,” said Justice AS Gadkari.
Justice MN Jadhav said, “You are not just putting an axe on one of your feet, but both. We are reminded of the story of Sheikh Chilli, who was cutting the branch he was sitting on.” The bench told Jagtap that the “High Court is not there to conduct trials. We have heard about a media trial, but this is a report trail.”
The UK based lawyer
The one point that was pointed out was that the report was prepared by Rabia Khan’s legal team in the UK, and hence it could be surmised that Shekhar Jagtap represented that he was based out of the UK. The bench said, “We saw, we are disgusted.” This comment was on the contents of the said report which said that they had no faith in Indian courts.
Sheikh Chilli means ?
A person who does not understand the law of gravity. Sufi Saint Abdul-Karim Abd-ur-Razak; popularly known by the name of Sheikh Chilli, a famous character among children in the subcontinent of India, is notorious for his follies and simplicity.
Complaint against Shekhar Jagtap
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) demanding action against Shekhar Jagtap.
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.
The letter demands inquiry and action against Shekhar Jagtap.