Legal Articles

Top Law Firm Luminaries

Ajay Behl’s approach to his profession has not changed over the years. Work as a team, network and interact with the focused aim of achieving excellence is his mantra.

Unlike his elder brother, Ajay did not follow in his father’s footsteps to take up the study of medicine. Ajay followed his intuition and focused on commerce. He had discerned early on that old Delhi, the place from where he hailed, needed people to pursue commerce. Young Ajay, through sheer diligence and single-minded focus concentrated on clearing the C.A. examination. Unbelievably, he did so with aplomb in his very first attempt, cracking the All India Top Three! And then gave it up!

Life, even at the early stage, was exciting. With Narendra Kumar (N.K.P.) Salve, the veteran Congress politician, Parliamentarian and cricket administrator, as a mentor, Ajay could draw from his immense knowledge and experience and that of his son, the famous lawyer, Harish Salve. “The opportunities to travel alongside ‘Salve Uncle’ and Harish gave me insights into the phenomenal amount of preparations they did, and the constant words of advice – it was a blessing to have met Salve Uncle and Harish” was Ajay’s admission. “you are not paid to hear the sound of your own voice,” would be the kind of pragmatic wisdom which flowed form the veteran. And yet he would be fun to be with. Uncle Salve became very close, then as a friend of his father, even accompanying them personally during their marriage rituals. With constant prodding form Uncle and Harish, Ajay agreed to pursue law in an evening college. Ajay Behl has not looked back since!

With some encouragement form Vijay Makhija, his Rotary Club friend, he took a considered decision to pursue law and went back to Salve for his advice. Uncle Salve offered to arrange Ajay’s internship with Soli Sorabjee, but Ajay’s interests lay in corporate law.

Ajay Behl thrives in the intensely challenging and work-charged climate offered by corporate law – be it while camping in New York, as part of the team for ESPN, while responding to the challenge thrown by Lalit Modi, or having to fly back to formalize the merger of CZB and ABC – the very next day! He nurtured the newly born AZB to provide a conducive environment for the Firm to grow into the 275-strong well-bonded entity it is today. For Ajay Behl, corporate law has been a dynamic and eclectic mix of focused team effort towards a series of quantified successes. The effort while building his Firm has been towards including a strong value system, bolstered by uniformly high professional standards across all his offices. A never-easy-to-achieve attitude, coupled with an ethical work environment ensures that his team is able to deliver always and every time.
Today, Ajay Behl is one of the most sought after corporate attorneys. Not because of his being the senior partner at AZB or the fact that he is a rare combination of qualifications – a C.A. and a trained lawyer. It is perhaps the solid grounding by Salve and the emphasis on inculcation of core values – team work, honesty, humane approach to work and professional excellence— that have ensured that success follows him inevitably.

His approach to his profession has not changed over the years – whether it was while striving to earn his professional spurs or setting up his first office in his garage at Malcha Marg, Delhi, till the present where he has had significant roles to play in important tax rulings. Work as a team, network and interact with the sole focused aim of achieving excellence is his mantra.
Ajay Bahl’s expertise lies in Taxation including Taxation Litigation, advisory work on Foreign Exchange, Securities Regulations and Mergers & Acquisitions. Feather on his highly adorned cap increase by the day. As an independent expert on accounting matters and tax issues, he appeared before The International Court of Justice at The Hague on behalf of the Indian government. He had an important role to play while analyzing the Indo-US double taxation avoidance agreement and distinguishing it from domestic law. Sheer competence has made The Chambers Asia, Asia’s Leading Lawyers for Business, in 2008 designated Ajay Behl a “Band One individual for Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions practice.”

But the merger of his firm with the one promoted by Zia and Bahram has given him the utmost satisfaction. For him it was providence and destiny. Back in 2004, while accepting Bahram’s proposal to merge Ajay Behl & Company with CZB to form AZB, Ajay say, “Little did I know that 20 years down, Soli’s daughter’s and my paths would be joined. It was an instinct that we should get together.”

Radhika has been the proverbial pillar of support. Exceptionally gifted and a lawyer in her own right she has been part of the whole journey, right from the time when as a 19 year-old she met him while vacationing in Kashmir to their marriage way back in 1977. From covering his college attendances to holding his hand when “yet not earning enough to get married” was an issue. Dynamic Radhika has her own space— fitness and sports, especially, tennis. A trained vocalist in Hindustani classical music she produces music – recently a CD on Rashid Khan. The couple owns a boutique villa resort property – Beleza, by the beach, that adorns the necklace of South Goa beach, which is run by their daughter Bhavna. Wine is another passion. The Bahl’s are founder-members of the Delhi Wine club.


We acknowledge “100 Legal Luminaries of India” by Lalit Bhasin (Lexis). The multicolour coffee table book printed on art paper in Hardbound is priced at ` 5995/- and is available at Universal Book Traders, C-27, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001. sales@ubtlawbooks.com

Leave a Comment