I owe my name, fame and courage of conviction to Great Ramji.

The bond continued there after and Ramji never left me whenever I needed his help during troubled times. And there were too many of them.

Baljeet Parmar 

I have been lucky to know from close quarters  extraordinary men like Harish Bhanot, Chetan Anand, Sam Cambatta, Kali Mody, Daya Shankar, Joginder Singh, Khushwant Singh, Achariya Rajneesh,  Amarjeet Singh Samra and a lot others with whom I had the privilege to spent quality time over the last 45 years. 

But Ramji Jethmalani always had a special place in my life and soul. I first met Ramji in 1983 when I did a story on the famous Nanavaty case where Ramji appeared for the defence. The story took me to his office and home where he spoke about the case in detail over tea and snacks. 

The first one was when I broke the story of Hinduja scion Dharam who had eloped with his girl friend Ninotchka Sargon. I wrote that the couple had escaped to Mauritius and even published the hotel name and room number where they were putting up. Hindujas sent me a one crore legal notice which came from Ramji's office and signed by SB jaisinghani. 

I went to Ramji's office at Nariman Point and showed him all the evidence that I had in hand including the passenger manifest that carried Dharam Hinduja's travel details. Ramji patted my back and appreciated my investigative skills. "Dont worry my son and don't succumb to any pressure," he said and blessed me when I touched his feet.

The very next day I published another  story saying that the couple on the  run was in fact married and that Ninotchka was pregnant. The Hindujas were furious and sent me another legal notice for One crore rupees. 

I again went to Ramji who told me to prove that the couple were married and not to worry about the legal notice. The next day I published the marriage certificate issued by the Court of Chelsea in London.  No notice followed after that.

I used to speak to Ramji in connection with various court cases including that of the Indira Gandhi Assassins as part of my duty. I used to call him for quotes on various issues as required by my newspaper. 

During those days some one filed some fictitious case against me and again I had to seek his help. He requested Prashant Marne, one of his junior assistants to help me out pro bono.

Again, when I broke the Sanjay Dutt story stating that he hero was in possession of deadly weapons supplied by the Dawood Gang, Ramji bailed me out. Here again received a notice from Ramji's office, not once but thrice in a week asking me to retract my story of face consequences. I called up Ramji. As usual he told me to worry as my facts were unimpeachable. "I know you my son. You have done no wrong," he said. 

In 1993 a Sikh religious preached Baba Suchha Singh from Punjab wanted to hold a seminar on Sant Namdeo whose verses are there Guru Granth Sahib . Sant Namdeo hailed from Maharashtra. The people who had assured Suchha Singh of help in Mumbai backed out at the last moment. They approached me and assured them all help. 

In front of them I called Ramji in Delhi and narrated the entire sequence of events. "I will call u back in 20 minutes," Ramji said. 

Within five minutes I received a call from some one at YB Chavan auditorium and it was booked for the next Sunday. After some time there was a call from CM office confirming his presence at the seminar. Yet another call came from then Mumbai University VC Dr Deshmukh confirming her presence. 

Ramji called after twenty minutes and said, " if you need anything else my son just let me know. And I will be there for the function. That was Ramji.

And then in 2008 he once again showered me with yet another favour. It so happened that then senior most IPS officer SS Virk returned to his parent cadre, Maharastra. Based on his seniority he should have been the State DGP but the government posted him as DGP Housing. He had filed and won an appeal from the Administrative Tribunal but had to go to the High Court to seek some clarities.

One fine day Virk called me to his abode at Officer's Mess, Worli. After discussing the entire issue he said that Ram Jethmalaniji agrees to appear for him, he could win the case. I assured Virk that I will take up his case with Ramji.

Same evening I called Ramji and narrated the issue to him in short. "I have put up boards outside my offices in Delhi and Mumbai saying that I am not taking any new briefs. I will ask Tony (his son) to help you out," he said. I pleaded with him to just give me ten minutes and he agreed.

"I am at my Pune farm house. Come by 10.20 sharp. We will discuss it over breakfast," he said obligingly. I reached his place along with my friend Prakash Bhagat Monto. I handed him the three page Tribunal ordered which he read while sipping his tea.

"No court in the country can go against this order. Tell Virk not to worry. Ask him to meet me in my chambers after two days," Ramji thundered.

What happened after that is history. AN Roy was removed and Virk was appointed DGP, Maharashtra.

There are many more incidents where Ramji went out of his way to help others. Here is just one more. A NGO from Pune had undertaken a unique project wherein it invited some 40 families from Pakistan to stay with locals as their guests for two weeks. They invited Ramji to preside over the inaugural function at Pune.

Ramji called and told me to go to Pune and help the organisers in handling the press and publicity. I took my colleagues Avinash Tripathi and Rajesh and spent two days at Pune. I can go on an on. But it is time for the Court to rise. I owe my name, fame and courage of conviction to Great Ramji.

*Writer is a Mumbai based veteran journalist of India. 

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