Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Kantak doth protest too much -1

Subodh Kantak, the advocate general says Aires Rodrigues, the lawyer and his bête-noire, defamed him by making false allegations of double and excessive billing.  You be the judge and decide who is guilty because what Kantak got paid for the various hearings are by any stretch of imagination or thumb rule way beyond excessive. 

Here is another point I would like to make.  Governments for long have been paying lawyer’s fees that have no rationale, neither were the fees I am told fixed with any prior knowledge.  After Lion Roars first broke the news in this column, the chief secretary JP Singh ordered that a comparison be made with Maharashtra and Karnataka.  His logic was these are neighbouring States.  So what?  And what about the fact that some of Maharashtra’s and Karnataka’s district annual budgets would take a huge chunk out of Goa’s annual budget?  In other words, they have the dough.  We do not.


For example the following fees were paid to defend the government in the Supreme Court in a writ petition (no. 440/2007) Goa Democratic Alliance versus Goa government: Anip Sachthey Rs 6,24,400, Madhu Sikri Rs 33,000, Harin P. Rawal Rs 1,00,000, Shriniwas R. Khalap Rs 2,00,000, Huzefa Ahmadi Rs 1,60,000, Anupam Lal Das Rs 33,000, KK Venugopal Rs 8,80,000, K. Parasaran Rs 10,72,500.  For the uninitiated, Shriniwas is the son of Ramakant Khalap.  The total of Rs 31,02,900 which Kantak would call not excessive is enough to solve your village’s immediate needs, roads for instance even if bijli and pani that most villagers are crying out for are a given in a state like Goa.


But Kantak thinks he has the edge on being blameless and honourable.  After all the legal eagles that appeared for the government are professionals.  For instance Kapil Sibal, a union minister, had appeared in his legal capacity for Dayanand Narvekar some time ago and the latter got slapped with a big legal bill. Narvekar reportedly demurred saying he and Sibal are both Congressman so he should be given a discount.  Sibal reportedly said he did not mix his politics and business!


So, whose fault is it? The MLAs who constantly switch sides or the chief ministers who approved the enormous hikes in the retainership and the other scales of payment?  I rest my case.  Meanwhile, remember the Ponda autorickshaw driver who returned a huge sum of money to the man who left it behind in his rick.  If you go by Kantak’s reading of the law, the man ought to have taken the money home for keeps.  The autorickshaw was after all his and his passenger should have known better, so on and so forth.  There is a lesson here to be learnt.  It is to not feel wounded when you have just bled the government dry.




Can’t do without Kantak


Our MLAs really need to think twice before they switch political sides or rather play musical chairs, because the early prize money goes to Kantak.  In June 2007 for instance he was paid Rs 38,500: Rs 20,000 as retainership for the month, HRA of Rs 10,000, conference consultation of Rs 5,500 and another allowance of Rs 3,000.  I have a copy of another bill obtained under RTI which shows he was paid an extra Rs 6,08,000 for the same month.  In May he got paid Rs 38,500 and Rs 64,000.  In April Rs 38,500 and Rs 12,32,000.  In March Rs 38,500 and Rs 19,60,000.  In February Rs 38,500 and Rs 11,68,000.  In January Rs 38,500 and Rs 10,64,000.


In December 2006 Kantak was paid Rs 38,500 and Rs 10,40,000.  In November Rs 38,500 and Rs 11,36,000, October Rs 38,500 and Rs 9,52,000, September Rs 38,500 and Rs 8,48,000.  In August Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,31,000, July Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,94,000, June Rs 19,500 and Rs 3,95,000, May 1,16,000, April Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,16,000, March Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,97,000, February Rs 19,500 and Rs 3,68,000, January Rs 19,500 and Rs 5,99,000.


In December 2005 Kantak was paid Rs 19,500 and Rs 3,38,000.  In November Rs 19,500 and Rs 2,03,000, December Rs 19,500 and Rs 2,09,000, September Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,07,000, August Rs 19,500 and Rs 4,46,000, July Rs 19,500 and Rs 3,08,000, June Rs 9750 and Rs 47,000.  In February Rs 2,24,000.  The other comparison I can give are the ambulance chasers in the USA who, in order to earn large fees, seek out accident victims and encourage them to claim heavy damages.



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