Hyderabad: Born in Shikarpur in Sindh province (now in Pakistan) in 1923, Ram Jethmalani obtained a law degree at 17. As a lawyer, he rose to fame in 1959 when he was prosecutor in the K M Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra case in which a Naval Commander was tried for the murder of his wife's lover.
Jethmalani’s other high-profile cases included the Indira Gandhi assassination case in which he appeared for the accused.
Cases Jethmalani Fought
He defended Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin in Madras High Court in 2011; Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh in stock market scam cases; Delhi University professor SAR Geelani in the Parliament attack case in 2001; and represented Manu Sharma, son of an influential Congress leader, in the Jessica Lal murder case.
Jethmalani was lead petitioner in black money case during the previous UPA regime in the Supreme Court where he had argued for bringing back illegal money stashed in foreign banks.
He was L K Advani's defence lawyer in the hawala case, Shah's lawyer in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, Jayalalithaa's defence lawyer in disproportionate assets case, Kanimozhi's defence in 2G scam trial, Lalu Prasad Yadav's defence in fodder scam case, B S Yediyurappa's defence in mining scam case and argued for Sanjay Dutt's bail before the Supreme Court in the Mumbai blasts case.
Jethmalani had asked 10 questions per day to Rajiv Gandhi in bofors pay off case. He also defended the Hinduja brothers in the case in which the Delhi High Court had quashed all charges against them and others under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
He also represented Arvind Kejriwal in civil and criminal defamation cases filed by former finance minister Arun Jaitley against the chief minister in the Delhi High Court. He also appeared for Reliance Natural Resources Ltd in the dispute over gas supplies between the Ambani brothers.
Minister during Vajpayee Government
Jethmalani served as Union Law minister and also as Urban Development minister during the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee against whom he later contested the 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Lucknow seat. He also served as the Supreme Court Bar Association president in 2010.
Jethmalani, The BJP MP
Jethmalani was elected as a member of Parliament in the sixth and seventh Lok Sabha on Janta party and BJP tickets, respectively from Mumbai in 1977 and 1980. He came back to the BJP in 2010 and was elected to Rajya Sabha on the party's ticket from Rajasthan.
Expelled From BJP
In 2013, Jethmalani was expelled from the BJP's primary membership for six years for "breach of discipline" and "anti-party" statements. He later filed a suit against the BJP for expelling him and sought Rs 50 lakh in damage. The matter was amicably settled after Shah expressed "regret" over his expulsion.