Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

October 2008---????

Administration of justice!

By a twist of fate, that is the title of the major accounting head under which these astronomical fees were paid to the advocate general, Subodh Kantak.  As for Kantak’s luck with his official earnings, what can I say?  The man has the Midas touch.  Representing a suspiciously benevolent government, Kantak, I showed you last week, earned Rs 1,62,48,250 appearing in court between February 2005 and June 2007. 

There’s plenty more.  He was paid Rs 19,000 and Rs 10,25,000 in January 2006.  In August that year he was paid Rs 19,000 and Rs 7,45,000.  In July Rs 19,000 and Rs 8,50,000.  In June Rs 19,000 and Rs 6,85,000.  In May Rs 19,000 and Rs 2,20,000.  In April Rs 19,000 and Rs 7,20,000.  In March Rs 19,000 and Rs 8,55,000.  In February Rs 19,000 and Rs 6,40,000.  In December 2005 he was paid Rs 19,000 and Rs 5,90,000.  In November Rs 19,000 and Rs 3,65,000.  In October Rs 19,000 and Rs 3,75,000.  In September Rs 19,000 and Rs 7,05,000.  In August Rs 19,000 and Rs 7,70,000.  In July Rs 19,000 and Rs 5,40,000.  In June Rs 9,500 and Rs 1,05,000.  Total Rs 94,65,500.  The only other beneficiary was the union government as TDS (tax deducted at source) at 7 per cent was deducted from these sums.

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (& Women)

One of the first actions Digambar Kamat took after assuming office (he hadn’t by then even appointed all his close aides) was to call up the chief secretary and ask him to settle Kantak’s bills.  Kamat barely had time to perform other tasks because the week or so prior were occupied firefighting (many were opposed to him becoming chief minister) in Delhi.  Outside his cabin were Srinivas Dempo, Ramakant Khalap and Pandurang Madkaikar, with their own agendas.  I was inside Kamat’s anteroom along with another outstation journalist interviewing him.  That’s how I heard the conversation.  The current fee for AG’s was approved by the Pratapsingh Rane cabinet on September 21, 2006, and quickly notified on September 28 backdating the revised fees from April 1, 2005 which fittingly was April Fool’s day.

Kantak appeared in the Bombay High Court on January 27, 2006 in the Saleli riots case bail applications of the 102 accused and was paid 102 times Rs 8,000 i.e. Rs 8,16,000.  In reality, he made a common argument for the whole batch of bail applications and he should have claimed only Rs 8000.  In the PIL challenging the appointment of parliamentary secretaries Kantak charged Rs 8,000 twice over for the hearing on July 24, 2007.

While Kantak, who has not been designated senior counsel, gets paid Rs 8,000 each time he appears in the HC, even if the case is adjourned; his Gujarat counterpart is paid Rs 700 per day per case only if it is an effective hearing.  The Maharashtra AG is paid Rs 5,000 per case up to a maximum of Rs 7,000 per day irrespective of the number of cases.  The Karnataka AG gets Rs 1,000 for the first case and Rs 250 for each subsequent case and up to a maximum of Rs 10,000 per day.  Kantak was paid Rs 2,55,97,012 between June 05-August 07.  India’s Chief Justice gets a miserly Rs 33,000 p/m.  The President gets Rs 1,00,000 p/m.  Kantak, gets Rs 8,000 every time he shows up.

When the going gets good, the good(s) get going.  From 2005-2007 the additional government advocates attached to the office of the AG were paid as follows: Rakhi M. Chodankar -Rs 7,03,723, Leena Dharwadkar -Rs 6,30,671, Gauri Bhonsale -Rs 5,02,827, Manish Salkar -Rs 3,50.587.  Total Rs 21,87,808.  If Kantak does the arguing in court, it means the AAG’s don’t.  They only show up to seek adjournments or file affidavits or are a part of the AG’s valet service.  Perhaps there’s a thin dividing line between showing up in court and arguing!  Or, none at all!  Finally, the government paid the AG’s personal staff Rs 16,96,251 as expenses between June 05-Feb 08.  And this bit of miscellany, Rs 37,736 towards his mobile phone bill for July 05-December 07 and Rs 6,349 for calling from home between July 05-October 06.

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