The clamour in Kerala opposing the continuation of KP Dandapani as the state’s Advocate General has reached its peak, culminating in two complaints of conflict of interest. At the centre of the controversy is the law firm Dandapani Associates, run by the AG’s wife Sumathi Dandapani and son Millu Dandapani. It has been alleged that in the last four years, Dandapani Associates has argued 270 cases against the AG’s office and in many cases government pleaders have deliberately presented a weak version in court. Things have come to such a stage that two government departments have openly said they do not want the AGs to argue their cases, and would recruit other lawyers. But this is not the only point of contention, as a fresh complaint has been lodged with the Kerala High Court. Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA V Sivankutty filed a complaint with the Kerala High Court registrar on August 3, seeking action against the AG for allegedly carrying on a private practice while holding a constitutional office. The compliant lists many other allegations of professional, ethical impropriety, and possible illegalities. Prominent advocate JS Ajith Kumar, who had in January filed a complaint before the Bar Council of Kerala, told The News Minute:His acts are against constitutional morality and professional ethics. Big manipulations happen in many of these cases.—JS Ajith Kumar, Advocate Conflict of Interest In his complaint with the court, Sivankutty lists numerous conflicts of interest. He has alleged that Dandapani had represented the state in around 270 cases where the other party was represented by Dandapani Associates – meaning his wife and son. The mother and son duo were also legal advisers to several bar owners case when the latter were fighting the state’s policy on prohibition. Further, the petitioners have also alleged that government pleaders do not oppose cases argued by Dandapani Associates. Another fact that has not escaped attention was that his wife Sumathi has in the past represented the Tamil Nadu government against the Kerala government in the Mullaperiyar dam case.Dandapani Associates has appeared in many cases of illegal quarrying and other mafia cases against the state and also in forest offence cases which have resulted in the loss of crores of rupees to the state.—JS Ajith Kumar, AdvocateWho’s Interest? \nQuestions have also been raised over Dandapani’s position on various matters vis-a-vis the government. Months after he took charge, Dandapani stirred up a storm within the state as also within the ruling United Democratic Front government when he took a position that was different from that of the government over the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam. Sivankutty added that Millu Dandapani had been appointed as the legal advisor for 34 institutions, both government and private, after the AG assumed office in 2011.Dogged by ControversiesDandapani is no stranger to controversy. His very appointment was challenged in August 2011, by senior lawyers of the Kerala High Court. In 1996, he had been appointed a judge of the Kerala High Court, but ceased to be one as he did not assume charge at the Gujarat High Court after he was transferred there soon after his appointment. This incident was brought up when he was first appointed as AG by the then CPI (M) government in the state to challenge his appointment. However, the high court had found no merit in the challenge and had dismissed the petition. Sivankutty claims that a person removed from one constitutional position is not qualified to hold another.Political and Media Clout?There is much speculation about why the current situation in the state continues despite the outcry against the AG. Recently Kerala High Court judge, Justice Alexander Thomas lashed out at Dhandapani and his office saying that the court would not mind disbanding the entire office. In spite of the judge’s outburst, the Chief Minister chose to stick his neck out and lambasted the judge. Dandapani Associates is reportedly associated with two media giants in the state which makes them a formidable opponent to take on. (Author Haritha John works with The News Minute. The story has been edited for length. Read more here.) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.