He has won the Sangh Parivar’s praise after putting forth a strong case for the temple as the lawyer for the infant deity — Ram Lalla Virajman — and other Hindu parties. Just over three decades ago, however, he was credited with helping save Rajiv Gandhi’s prime ministership amid the Bofors scandal.
In 1987, when news of the alleged Bofors scam broke, Delhi was rife with speculation of an impending move by then President Giani Zail Singh to dismiss Rajiv Gandhi.
According to sources, Rajiv and his close associates got wind that Singh was secretly meeting Congress leaders and trying to convince them to dump the prime minister on account of the Bofors controversy.
Amid this period of uncertainty, Parasaran, then the attorney general, is said to have met the then Chief Justice of India R.S. Pathak and two other senior judges to alert them that the government might move the Supreme Court late at night in case Singh decided to dismiss the government.
Parasaran’s hush-hush meeting with the CJI was seen as significant, sources said, since it could have helped Rajiv secure immediate relief from the judiciary if the president had gone ahead with his plan. Ultimately, Singh made no such move.
In 2012, while the Congress-led UPA was in office, Parasaran was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Parasaran was appointed as chief of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Wednesday. The trust will oversee the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Like father, like son
Parasaran’s son Mohan Parasaran, a Supreme Court lawyer like his father, served as solicitor general under the erstwhile UPA government led by the Congress, from 2013 to 2014.
Insiders relay the story of his appointment to the post as another example of the close ties between the Gandhis and the Parasarans.
In February 2013, a year before it was voted out of office, the Manmohan Singh government faced a mini crisis-of-sorts.
The then solicitor general Rohinton Nariman, a current Supreme Court judge, had put in his papers, allegedly after serious differences between him and then Union law minister Ashwani Kumar.
However, according to sources, as the government’s managers started scouting for a good replacement, there was a message for the Prime Minister’s Office and the Law Ministry from 10 Janpath, the residence of the Gandhi family.
Stop the search, the message is believed to have said, and appoint Mohan Parasaran, then the additional solicitor general, to the post.
Parasaran served in the post until UPA-II was voted out in May 2014.
Apart from his work as the government’s top counsel, Mohan Parasaran was also believed to be often consulted by the Gandhi family for their personal legal affairs.
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