PM not to blame for delay in reply, Swamy tells apex court

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NEW DELHI - Former MP Subramanian Swamy Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had no malafide intention in blocking his letter seeking sanction to prosecute then telecom minister Andimuthu Raja in the scandal involving spectrum allocation to mobile companies.

“The prime minister had no evil or bad intention to delay decision on my letter,” Swamy told the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

The court was hearing Swamys petition challenging a Delhi High Court verdict which said that the prime minister could not be directed to give sanction on his letter as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was conducting probe into the scandal.

During the hearing, the government told the court that the prime minister was not obliged under the law to give sanction for prosecution of the former telecom minister.

Swamy said, The prime minister had no clue as to what was to be done. The time taken was entirely by the bureaucracy and the law ministry.

No one told him (prime minister) what the law is and how to go about it and apply the law,” Swamy told the court.

He said that neither bureaucrats in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) nor in the law ministry or Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily had told the prime minister that it was for him to take the final call and decide whether to give or not to give sanction to prosecute Raja under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Swamy said he first approached the prime Minister for sanction because he wanted to save time.

“I took another route and thought that in any case sanction from the prime minister was an obligatory condition under the Prevention of Corruption Act, thus, why not take it prior to moving the competent court,” Swami told the court.

He said: “There was nothing in the law that said that I should first go to the competent court and later upon the prime facie satisfaction of the court get back to the sanctioning authority for seeking sanction for prosecution of a public servant.”

The case is related to the issuance of second-generation (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.

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