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Majeed Memon quits Samajwadi Party

Vijay Singh in Mumbai | June 05, 2004 00:03 IST

Noted Mumbai-based criminal lawyer Majeed Memon has parted ways with the Samajwadi Party after the latter refused to nominate him to the Rajya Sabha.

Elections to 65 seats in the Upper House are due soon and parties are finalising the names.

The people parties nominate for the Rajya Sabha are those who have lost the Lok Sabha elections or those who have helped the party in some way but don't have a mass base.

Memon has been working for the Samajwadi Party for several years now. He is known for having fought several Prevention of Terrorism Act and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act-related cases, including several in which members of the minority community are involved. The SP is known to enjoy the support of Muslims.

The eminent lawyer is a very important tool for the Samajwadi Party to fight anti-terror laws like POTA and TADA.

Even otherwise, Memon is known to take up cases without charging a penny. A notable example is Anna Hazare's PIL to expose the involvement of top police officers and politicians in the fake stamp paper scam, also known as the Telgi scam.

He was nevertheless denied a Lok Sabha seat because he reportedly does not enjoy mass support but was made vice-president of the state unit in recognition of his services to the party and to tap the goodwill he enjoys among the people.

However, the eminent lawyer was not interested in that post because he didn't find time to attend party meetings. He was keener on a Rajya Sabha berth.

He was certain that the party would nominate him for the Upper House considering his expertise on POTA, TADA and related matters. He hoped the party would utilise his expertise at the national level.

"I am fighting POTA and TADA cases, in the interest of the people and minorities. I am against these laws and the Rajya Sabha is a good platform for me to make a wider impact," says Memon.

But state unit president Abu Asim Azmi clearly told him that it was not possible to nominate him for the Rajya Sabha.

Memon was shocked on hearing this from Azmi, a long time friend, and promptly sent in his resignation saying he doesn't have time to attend party meetings.

"Samajwadi Party has betrayed me. I had given so much to the party but when the time came to reward me, they backed out," Memon said.

To make matters worse, the very next day, the party sent him a show cause notice asking him to explain why he had issued a statement in favour of former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi during the general election, which Joshi contested from the Mumbai North Central seat.

The party also accused him of not attending to a case filed against Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal.

Memon denied issuing any statement in favour of Manohar Joshi. As for the latter accusation, he said 'it's the party's responsibility to keep track of court dates for which it has a legal cell. Why are they pointing fingers at me alone?'

SP general secretary (Mumbai) Abdul Chowdhary said, "Memon has worked very hard for the party. We admire his courage and his ability to fight the POTA and TADA cases. We still hope he will withdraw his resignation and continue fighting against POTA-like laws with the Samajwadi Party and take up other causes for the minority community."

However, Memon is not in a forgiving mood.

"I will not go back to the Samajwadi Party even if they are willing to nominate me for the Rajya Sabha. They hurt me deeply by first not nominating me and than by sending a show cause notice after I resigned from the party.

More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts

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