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Ram Jethmalani, indomitable doyen of courtroom craft & drama, dies at 95

Ram Jethmalani: RIP
Ram Jethmalani: RIP

Legendary senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, one of the most outspoken and eloquent storytellers of the bar, passed away early this morning, according to the PTI at age 95, a week before his 96th birthday on 14 September.

The former union law minister and one of the highest paid senior counsel until his official retirement from legal practice nearly two years ago, had died at 7:45am after two weeks of “round the clock medical help”.

Jethmalani, always humourous and devilishly witty, usually controversial and often politically incorrect, had always spoken his mind about issues close to his heart, sometimes to the chagrin of former allies at the BJP, which expelled him in 2013, as well as colleagues in the profession.

In inimitable RamJet fashion, his expulsion from the BJP was followed by his filing a defamation suit against the party’s parliamentary board.

The fight against black money had been at the forefront of his public life for several years and Jethmalani was widely perceived as a master of court-craft.

Although he appeared in all sorts of cases, he was a master of criminal law. In 2011, we had interviewed him on the art of cross-examination.

Lawyer-filmmaker Siddharth Acharya had profiled Jethmalani in a six-minute video in 2014.

In 2013, he was also voted as the world’s “most badass lawyer” on Q&A site Quora.

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