‘I neither appeared nor dealt with the OMC case after 13 July 2010’

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Photo: Sharad Saxena

IT IS regrettable that Raman Kirpal’s report (Rahul may back the tribals, but Singhvi has his own brief, 6 November) is based on completely incorrect information, is erroneous, tendentious and slanted with innuendos intended to impair my reputation.

I am not appearing for nor have appeared or advised or dealt with any issue arising from the rejection/cancellation by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) order dated 24 August 2010, either for Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) or Sterlite or anyone else in respect of either the forest or the environmental matter relating to the Niyamgiri project. This simple and unalterable fact makes the entire report fallacious and a figment of the imagination.

Some NGOs had filed an appeal against the environment clearance of 28 April 2009 before the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA). Neither OMC nor Sterlite had filed any proceedings in this respect and were merely respondents in the appeal filed against them by the NGOs. I did appear for OMC in the environment case filed by the NGO against OMC at that time. The final arguments in this case were heard and over on 13 July 2010. I neither appeared nor dealt with the case after that.

The forest diversion proposal was rejected by MoEF later, on 24 August 2010, and consequentially, the MoEF declared the environmental clearance for the Lanjigarh Bauxite Mining Project dated 28 April 2009 as inoperable. It was in this connection that Shri Rahul Gandhi had visited Odisha. All this happened after I had admittedly ceased to appear in the case.

Hence it is completely wrongly reported by your correspondent that I have appeared after the MoEF cancellation, that I am appearing and that there is a review petition in which I am or can be or will appear in December 2010. Since I have admittedly not appeared in any manner after the MoEF rejection in August 2010, how can your correspondent presciently and prophetically predict that I shall be appearing in December 2010!

This removes the entire substratum and premise of the article. Consequently, every para of his conclusions and sequitur is false and meaningless.

Your correspondent has also not bothered to find out that, in the past few months alone, I have actually returned numerous legal briefs to avoid any situation of conflict where my professional interests may even be perceived to be in conflict with those of my political party, much less in actual conflict.

More importantly, as he represents a magazine and not a daily newspaper, your correspondent could have easily waited and persisted in contacting me personally instead of shooting from the hip.

RAMAN KIRPAL REPLIES
Four appeals (Nos. 18 to 21 of 2009) were filed against the grant of environment clearance to Lanjigarh Bauxite Mining Project given to OMC. The NEAA disposed of all these appeals and gave an order on 15 September 2010 and Mr Singhvi’s name is marked as Senior Advocate for OMC in the order. The same appeals have now been put for review petition. It is correct to say that Mr Singhvi’s further appearance in the review petition was based on a presumption on my part, considering that he had been appearing for Vedanta and later for OMC in various appeals filed before NEAA by the tribals and other environmental activists. I stand corrected and regret the mistake.

As per records available with us, Mr Singhvi has been appearing in the following matters for Vedanta Alumina Ltd before the NEAA and Delhi High Court.

Before the NEAA
1. Appeal No. 4 of 2007. Mr Singhvi represented Vedanta Alumina Ltd
2. Appeal No. 29 of 2009. Mr Singhvi appeared for Vedanta Alumina Ltd
3. Appeal No. 18 to 21 of 2009. These were disposed of on 15 September 2010 and Mr Singhvi’s presence is marked as Senior Advocate for OMC

Before the Delhi High Court
1. Writ Petition No. 3,126 of 2008: The court order dated 6 May 2009 says Mr Singhvi along with advocate PC Sen appeared for Vedanta Alumina Ltd
2. LPA No. 2007 of 2009: Mr Singhvi and advocate PC Sen’s name is there on behalf of M/s Vedanta Alumina Ltd
It is wrong to say that I did not call Mr Singhvi on his cell phone. I took his number from Parliament records and called him up. But we failed to connect.

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