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Eminent lawyer and former minister Ram Jethmalani passes away at 95

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New Delhi: Ram Jethmalani, veteran criminal lawyer and former Union Law Minister, passed away on Sunday morning at his residence in New Delhi. He was 95. According to reports, the lawyer had been on round-the-clock medical support over the past one week. His family told news agency PTI that he had not been keeping well for a few months. His son Mahesh Jethmalani added that his last rites will be conducted at the Lodhi road crematorium in New Delhi on Sunday evening.

Though he was primarily known as a criminal lawyer – one of the highest paid in India – Jethmalani appeared in many high profile cases. Among the noted ones are defending the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi case in the Madras High Court, defending the death sentence given to Afzal Guru – convicted in the attack on Parliament in 2001 – and representing Manu Sharma, the prime accused in the Jessica Lal murder case.

He also appeared for the defendants in the Indira Gandhi assassination case, Harshad Mehta stock scam case, Ketan Parekh case; he was LK Advani’s defence lawyer in the hawala case, Jayalalithaa’s defence lawyer in the disproportionate assets case, Kanimozhi’s defence in 2G scam trial, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s defence in fodder scam case, BS Yeddyurappa’s defence in the mining scam case, among several others.

The senior lawyer had also dabbled in politics, and won the general elections in 1980 on a BJP ticket from Mumbai. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in the 6th and 7th Lok Sabha. In 1996, he became the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. He held the portfolio during Vajpayee’s second term as well, after which he was then asked to resign. Between June 1999 and July 2000, he served as the Minister of Law and Justice before which, from March 1998 to June 1999, he was the Minister of Urban Development. Later, he went on to unsuccessfully contest against Vajpayee from the Lucknow parliamentary constituency in 2004. In 2010, the BJP gave him Rajya Sabha ticket.

Several lawyers, politicians and journalists condoled the veteran lawyer’s death.

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Arvind Kejriwal ropes in Prashant Kishor for image makeover

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New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has inked a deal with Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) for image makeover, the party chief Arvind Kejriwal announced on Saturday.

The AAP had secured 67 out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi in the last assembly elections in 2014. The date of assembly election in Delhi is to be announced soon as the poll needs to be completed by February 14, 2020.

Political strategist and currently an influential leader of the Janata Dal (United), Prashant Kishor runs advocacy group IPAC.

The advocacy group also declared on Saturday they have inked a deal with Kejriwal’s party.

On social media platforms, Kejriwal said: “Happy to share that IPAC is coming on-board with us. Welcome aboard!”

The advocacy group also said: “After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.”

Kishore worked with the Congress in 2017 for Punjab and Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. His wrote a successful story in Punjab in helping the Congress come back to power after two successive electoral losses.

Currently, Kishor is national vice-president of the JD(U) led by Nitish Kumar. JD(U) is an ally of the BJP at Centre as well in Bihar.

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