A day after being asked to quit by US President Donald Trump’s administration, Preet Bharara, a high-profile Indian-American federal prosecutor was sacked on Saturday, a media report said. Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor who was asked by President Trump to remain in his post shortly after the election, was fired after he refused an order to submit his resignation, The New York Times reported.
“I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honour of my professional life,” Bharara tweeted.
Bharara and 45 other federal prosecutors, who were appointed by former President Barack Obama, were told on Friday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to submit their resignations.
Before the firing, one of New York’s top elected Republicans voiced support for Bharara.
“Good for Preet, he is doing the job he was appointed to do!” Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb, the State Assembly minority leader, wrote on Twitter.
Nicknamed the “Sheriff of Wall Street”, Bharara’s jurisdiction covered New York’s financial district putting him in the limelight as he prosecuted more than 100 finance executives for criminal activities like stock trading irregularities using insider information.
They included several Indians like Rajat Gupta, the former head of the consulting company McKinsey and a Goldman Sachs director, who served two years in jail for colluding with the Sri Lankan-American hedge fund operator Raj Rajaratnam in a stock market scam using insider information.
Even though Bharara could be reappointed, his inclusion in the list of all the other Obama appointees came as a surprise because after a meeting with Trump in November he told reporters that he had been asked to stay on as federal prosecutor or US district attorney.