2G spectrum probe: CBI tells apex court charge-sheet in March

Monday, November 22, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday told the Supreme Court that it would complete its investigation into the second-generation (2G) spectrum allocation scandal and file a charge-sheet by March next year.

There was a transcript of taped telephone conversations running into 5,800 pages, out of which 3,500 pages had been analyzed. There were 6,000 files running into 80,000 pages, CBI’s senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

Venugopal said that they had filed an affidavit stating all that the investigating agency had done to unearth the scandal.

A reading of the affidavit would show whether we acted swiftly and efficiently or were lethargic as is being alleged by the petitioner, the senior counsel told the court.

Venugopal told the court that before going into the merit of the case, the court may look into what is the law and how far the court enjoys the jurisdiction in monitoring investigations by the CBI.

He said there were several judgments on the matter. Some said that the court could monitor the investigations, others said that the court could not.

Appearing for petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), senior counsel Prashant Bhushan wondered as to why the CBI took one year in filing the first information report (FIR) in the 2G spectrum scandal.

He said former MP Subramanian Swamy had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008 seeking permission to initiate criminal proceedings against the then Telecom Minister A. Raja under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Bhushan told the court that the details about the scandal given in the letter were not vague but specific. He said that those details alone were sufficient for filing the FIR for which the CBI took one year.

The senior counsel said that unless he argued the case on merit as to how the investigating agency was involved in delaying and derailing the probe, how could he establish his prayer for the court monitoring the CBI investigations.

Initially, the CBI investigation was carried out under the supervision of Vineet Agarwal. The income tax department probe was carried out by Ashish Abrol. Both of them were later taken off the case, he said.

Appearing for Raja, senior counsel T.R. Andhyarjiuna said that his client was being presented as if he was responsible for everything, whereas in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report there was no such thing against him.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that the CAG report was yet to be considered by the public accounts committee (PAC) wherein everything was scrutinized and evidence was called for.

The case is related to the issuance of 2G spectrum licences to telecom operators in 2008. Critics say it had resulted in a notional loss of thousands of crores of rupees to the exchequer.

will not be displayed