Sunil Prabhu accuses Jethmalani of unfairly portraying him as a convict during Thursday’s cross examination

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MUMBAI: Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s counsel on the third day of cross examining Sunil Prabhu, suggested that the Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA and chief whip in legislative Assembly produced a false document—the whip dated June 21, 2022–in the disqualification proceedings before the Maharashtra Speaker and in the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
Prabhu denied saying, “I am deposing after swearing upon the constitution.Whatever I am speaking is the truth. What they are saying is untrue.’’
Prabhu, in reply to one question after hours of unrelented grilling said, “You are putting me in this witness box and making me look like a convict.”
The proceedings were held before Speaker Rahul Narvekar.
“This Resolution was passed in the meeting of MLAs held on 21 lune2022 in the presence of Shri Uddhav Thackeray,’’ said Prabhu when senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani representing Shinde and his camp suggested that there was no such resolution made and passed to remove Eknath Shinde ad appoint Ajay Chaudhary as ‘Leader of the House.’
Jethmalani put it to Prabhu that on June 21, 2022, all the legislators, particularly Sena chief Thackeray were seeking a reconciliation with Shinde and others and mediators were sent to Surat to meet Shinde and therefore, the question of any Resolution being passed removing Shinde from his post didn’t arise. To which Prabhu’s reply was, “This Resolution was passed on 21st June. This meeting was convened under the chairmanship ofShri Uddhav Thackeray.’’
Jethmalani was conducting the cross and quizzed Prabhu at length on two more documents, one was the attendance register of the June 21,2022 meeting of Sena MLAs following an alleged whip and the other was a resolution for present CM Eknath Shinde’s removal.
Jethmalani put it to Prabhu that these two documents were also forged, a suggestion that Prabhu denied.
The case of Sena (UBT) hinges on the disobedience of the whip issuing for a meeting as one of main grounds for seeking disqualification.
Prabhu had sought disqualification of Eknath Shinde and other MLAs loyal to him while the Shinde camp had also filed a petition for disqualification of MLAs of the Thackeray camp. The pleas are together for disqualification of 54 MLAs.
The Speaker at one stage when Prabhu’s counsel made a remark and Shinde’s counsel responded, said, “At this stage, despite repeated requests not to indulge in exchange of unwarranted remarks, there has been constant exchange of unwarranted remarks between Counsel appearing for parties which has constantly resulted in wastage of time and delay which is extremely unfortunate.’’
The Supreme Court recently set December 31 as the deadline for the disqualification proceedings to conclude.
Jethmalani showed Prabhu the original copy of the “the attendance register’’ in the disqualification plea and its copy and pointed out that the “handwritten date’’ seen in the original doesn’t appear in the copy. Prabhu responded, “I can see it with my eyes that after seeing the original and copy’ the date mentioned on the original is not seen on the copy.’’ And then volunteered, “There could be a printing mistake in the xeroxing. It could be because of that.’’

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