Amit Desai

Amit Desai regularly appears before the trial courts, High Courts and the Supreme Court of India and represents Indian, multinational and foreign corporates; PE investors; business houses; promoters and prominent individuals. Early in his career, he had the opportunity to work with stalwarts like Nani Palkhiwala, Ashok Sen, Ram Jethmalani, Krishnakant Desai, Fali Nariman & Ashok Desai and some of the finest civil commercial and criminal law lawyers. He assisted the then Attorney General, K. Parasaran, in the then biggest corporate battles – LIC versus Escorts – one of his most fascinating experiences. He joined the Bar in 1982 and has been involved in several important cases like the Bhopal Gas Tragedy representing Union Carbide and Keshub Mahindra, Bofors Imbroglio representing the Hinduja Brothers and the Securities Scam (1992) where he represented and advised Harshad Mehta, Bhupen Dalal and many others.

Mr. Desai has represented many corporates in a variety of cases some being 2G Telecom case; Motorola Inc. in its disputes with Iridium; Price Waterhouse & Coopers in the Satyam case; Ratan Tata in his privacy petition; Tata Sons Ltd. against Nusli Wadia defamation case; Cyrus Mistry saga; Vijay Mallya (of United Breweries Group and Kingfisher Airlines); Naresh Goyal (Jet Airways), ITC Ltd. In a prosecution under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act; Hindustan Unilever in the Insider Trading prosecution, Nestle (India) challenging the Maggie ban; Deloitte MCA proceedings to ban auditors and so on to name a few. He has represented several accused in the prosecution of ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, (late) Ms Jayalalitha and Shri Kataria (ex-Home minister of Rajasthan) in the Sohrabuddin case; Kapil & Dheeraj Wadhawan of DHFL; Tarun Tejpal (sexual harassment case); Kalanithi Maran; and Karti Chidambaram .He has represented many Bollywood celebrities including Salman Khan’s on his appeal against conviction in the hit-and-run case in Mumbai and Aryan Shah Rukh Khan in the action by the Narcotics Bureau. He represented ministers like Ashok Chavan, Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik.

He has been a Special Counsel and Special Public Prosecutor of the State of Maharashtra in some of its important cases including the Malegaon blasts’ case in 2008 and against Arnab Goswami. Recently he argued on the validity of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before the Supreme Court. Mr. Desai has spoken broadly on myriad topics connected to corporate and general criminal law. He has spoken at the various Chambers of Industry and Bar Associations like at CII, IMC, BCCI, Bombay Chartered Accountants Association, Chamber of Income Tax Consultants and Forum of Free Enterprise, the Direct Taxes Regional Training Institute. He has been a speaker at the IBA Conference in New Delhi; Bar Association of India as its Seminar on Reforms in the Criminal Justice System, The Anti-Corruption Compliance Sessions at ‘The Indian Story in Global Mergers and Acquisitions’ conference presented by IBA Asia-Pacific Forum in 2012; a seminar on the ‘Use and misuse of power of Arrest by Police: Threat to personal liberty’ organized by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association; and ‘Latest Developments in Criminal Law relevant to Corporate India’ organized by Tata Sons Limited. At the conference organized by the Bombay High Court and the Maharashtra State Legal Services on Criminal Justice Delivery he spoke on Use of Modern Technology in Investigation of Economic Offences. He was the Keynote speaker on Securities Market Enforcement Trends at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Bombay Chamber of Commerce invited him to speak on Understanding Decriminalisation of Offences Under The Companies Act, 2013. During the Pandemic he spoke on Virtual Courts and at Indian Law Society, he spoke on Revisiting Jurisprudence on Capital Punishments in India. Mr. Amit Desai strongly believes that the core of criminal law is about justice – justice for all –not only to ensure that the accused receives a fair trial, but at the same time societal interests are protected and the offender is punished and rehabilitated.

Mr. Desai believes trials especially the criminal trials are one of the most challenging aspects of the legal process. Criminal Law gives an opportunity for an exhilarating opportunity to participate in the most fascinating aspects of the legal and justice process. He is the recipient of the ‘Senior Counsel of the Year’ Award 2020 by Legal Era. “With the breadth of options and multiple quasi-criminal matters, my journey of four decades has been intellectually stimulating while being personally and professionally satisfying”.

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