Office of profit row: Bar Council serves notice on Law minister

Bhubaneswar: Trouble mounted on Friday for Law minister Arun Sahu, already under the scanner for promoting and protecting delinquent doctor Motilal Gouda wanted in the fake gazette notification scam, after the State Bar Council served him a notice for not surrendering his bar license even after holding the post of a minister, an office of profit.

The Bar council has sought clarification from Sahu within 30 days. “Please submit your comments/show cause if any, on the matter so as to reach the office of the Odisha State Bar Council within thirty (30) days from the date of the issue of this letter for necessary action,” the notice read.

Nayagarh Bar Council president Ranjit Das, whose petition led to today’s notice by the Bar Council, said the minister’s act constitutes serious professional misconduct. “He had acquired the license from State Bar Council in 1996. He was supposed to surrender it after becoming a minister in 2012. This is a serious professional misconduct,” Das said. It is a violation of Section 35 of the Advocates Act-1961, he added.

Meanwhile, politics has hotted up over the matter with the BJP and Congress demanding action against the minister. “The Law minister himself has violated the law. Now, the people of Odisha are waiting to see what action the Chief Minister is taking against him,” BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra also maintained that Sahu should have surrendered his license after holding the office of profit, which he did not do.

On the other hand, the minister declined to comment on the issue while BJD passed the buck to him. “Only he can give a clarification on the matter,” BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy said.