Former Attorney General of India Goolam Essaji Vahanvati, the first Muslim to become the top law officer of the country, died yesterday following a cardiac arrest at the age of 65. He is survived by his wife and son, informed State Advocate General Darius Khambata. Vahanvati was suffering from a lung infection for some time.

Goolam Essaji Vahanvati

Vahanvati was appointed as the 13th Attorney General in June 2009, for a three-year term, after the UPA government was re-elected. His term was extended by another two years in 2012. Vahanvati resigned on May 27, 2014, after the BJP-led government headed by Narendra Modi assumed power. Prior to his appointment as the top law officer, Vahanvati had served as the Solicitor General of India between June 20, 2004 and June 7, 2009.

He was earlier the Advocate General of Maharashtra. Born on May 7, 1949, Vahanvati obtained a law degree from the Government Law College in Mumbai after graduating from St Xavier’s College.

Senior lawyer and BJP leader Mahesh Jethmalani, a friend of Vahanvati, said, “He was an outstanding and a thorough gentleman, a great friend. He had much to contribute to the profession, although, he had great achievements. His death is tragic, for everyone, from friends, family to the profession.”