By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: Muslim Mirror’s expose of Adv. Ejaz Maqbool in the Babri Masjid case has stirred the conscious of many Muslim lawyers. Now they are trying to recover the amount of Rs. 60 Lac from Adv. Ejaz Maqbool who had taken this ‘fraudulently’ in the name of Dr. Rajeev Dhavan from Jamiat Ulama-i- Hind. Md. Irshad Hanif is one of them who wants that the amount should be recovered from Adv Maqbool and he is ready to go to any extent for this.
Hanif, who was earlier in the Jamiat’s panel of lawyers on Babri case, claimed that he had arranged a teleconferencing between Jamiat President Maulana Arshad Madani and Dr Dhavan on the issue. During the telephonic talk with Dr Dhavan, Arshad Madani said that Ejaz Maqbool had taken money in the name of him from the Jamiat office, Hanif averred.
In a conversation with Abdul Bari Masoud, Hanif, who is Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court of India, shed some more lights on this sordid issue. He stated that he was ready to vouch for it in a sworn affidavit that Adv Ejaz Maqbool had taken Rs 60 Lac from Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind led by Maulana Arshad Madnai. However, the Jamiat leadership has maintained cryptic silence on the issue while Dr Dhavan has affirmed that he did not receive a single penny from the money that was taken on his name.
ABM: How long have you been involved as an advocate in the Babri Masjid Case?
IH: I was on the Jamiat’s panel of lawyers during 2014 to 2017. During this period of time, we were getting good orders from the Court. I did my part as a lawyer because the Babri Masjid dispute was not an ordinary case for me, rather a cause with which I stood by.
ABM: Then why did they (Jamiat) discontinue your services?
IH: Jamiat can better answer this question. But I was dropped from the case by saying that Dr. Rajeev Dhavan has put up a condition that he needed Ejaz Maqbool as Advocate-on-Record in this case. Jamiat-i-Ulama Mumbai branch wrote a letter to me and asked for “No Objection Certificate” and the NOC was immediately issued by me and I completely separated myself from the case. I don’t know as to whether Dr. Dhavan had put any such condition but the letter written by Jamiat-i-Ulama Mumbai is still in my possession.
ABM: Did you charge any professional fees in Babri Masjid Case from Jamiat-i-Ulama Hind (A)?
IH: No, I did not charge any fees in those three years and it can be corroborated from the office of Jamiat-i-Ulama Hind.
ABM: Muslim Mirror exposed that Ejaz Maqbool took Rs 60 Lac as fees in the name of Senior Advocate Dr. Rajeev Dhavan from Jamiat Ulama who had never charged any professional fees since 1994 till last in the Babri masjid vs Ram Janmbhoomi title suit case. You claimed to be privy of it?
IH: It would have been much better that Ejaz Maqbool, Dr. Dhavan or/and Hazrat Maulana Arshad Madani must have come forward to answer this question. As this question was put to me, therefore, I would divulge that about six months back when I was holding a conference with Dr. Dhavan in his office in the case of CAA, Dr. Dhavan told me that he never charged any professional fees in the Babri Masjid case. I told him in my reply that to my information, Jamiat-i-Ulama has paid you for your appearance on each and every date. On this, he said in complete astonishment. “What are you saying?”
I repeated my statement and told him further that all the bills issued in your name are available with Jamiat. Dr. Dhavan said that he needed a Xerox copy of those bills. I rushed to Jamiat’s office to have a copy of those bills but I was told that they had direct communication with Dr. Dhavan. As a conclusion, Jamiat refused to hand over any copy of those bills to me.
It is important to mention here that when I was having the above noted conversation with Dr. Dhavan, then and there I called up Maulana Arshad Madani. He took my call and I narrated everything to him. Maulana Madani told me over phone that, “we have paid Rs. 60, 00,000 (Rs 60 Lac) to Ejaz Maqbool for Dr. Dhavan’s professional fees.”
I handed over my phone to Dr. Dhavan and he had a direct conversation with Maulana Madani verifying the fact of payment of his fees to Ejaz Maqbool. I am ready to state on oath whatever has taken place in my presence.
ABM: It seems that you want to axe the grind with Adv Maqbool as the issue is between Dhavan, Jamait and Maqbool. Why are you taking so much interest in it?
IH: How can you confine the issue among Dr. Dhavan, Jamiat and Maqbool? Was Babri Masjid a personal property of Jamiat? How can I remain silent on the issue after effectively prosecuting the Babri Masjid case for more than 3 years without charging a single paisa of professional fee?
You doubt my intention instead of appreciating that I am discharging my duty as a responsible citizen. Am I asking this money for myself?
This is the money of Muslim community and every single Muslim of India has right to recover this money from Ejaz Maqbool. Please don’t dilute the issue by asking an ill-framed question.
ABM: Despite the news doing rounds of fraud, Ejaz Maqbool does not accept or refute this charge while Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind also keeps cryptic silence over the issue, what should be the further course of action?
IH: I would like to say that the trust and confidence of Muslim community is involved in this matter. Therefore, Jamiat must break its silence and come forward to state the truth before the masses. The money should be returned back to Jamiat by Ejaz Maqbool and Jamiat should place this amount before Dr Dhavan with a request that he (Dr. Dhavan) should pronounce a judgment with regard to this amount of money.
ABM: Do you see any connection between the money issue and the outcome of the Supreme Court’s judgment on Babri Masjid case?
IH: I can’t comment on this as it is the job of journalists to analyze it. However, I would say only this much that had there been a Court above the Supreme Court in our judicial system, the judgment of Babri Masjid case would have been reversed.