Punjab will pay $10,000 to US law firm hired to defend Badal
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Badal, who was on a visit to the US was reportedly served summons on August 8, issued by a district court in Wisconsin for human rights violations and 'torture' of Sikhs in Punjab
Punjab has hired the top US law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to defend Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a federal law suit in a Wusconsin district court.
The New York-based firm will be initially charging $10,000 from the state government for its services, sources in the advocate general's office said. The government has also sought assistance from a Milwaukee-based firm - Michael Best and Friedrich LLP - to defend Badal.
Badal, who was on a visit to the US was reportedly served summons on August 8, issued by a district court in Wisconsin for human rights violations and alleged torture of Sikhs in Punjab.
New York-based organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and members of SAD (Amritsar), are the petitioners in the case and the lawsuit has been filed under Alien Torts Claims Act and Torture Victims Protection Act.
Badal had time till August 30 to respond to the US court's summons. A three-member team headed by Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal had visited the US in the last week of August to hunt for law firms which could defend Badal.
"Another firm which was being considered by the government had demanded $5,00,000 as fee. There was a wide variation in the charges and it was decided to go with the one which was charging the least," an additional advocate general said.
On August 30, attorney Michelle L Jacobs of Michael Best and Friedrich LLP represented Badal and pleaded dismissal of the petition on the grounds that the defendant (Badal) had not been served the notice properly.
Defending Badal, the firm told the court that the petitioners have not shown any proof of service. Referring to internet website reports of summons having been served, Jacobs said: "Such proof of service is invalid and procedurally deficient."
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