Why wasn’t Raja quizzed, Supreme Court asks CBI

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not questioning former telecom minister A. Raja in the scandal on spectrum allocation to mobile companies despite a Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report pointing towards his involvement.

“The CAG under the constitution is a very important position. It is an authority set up under the constitution. If such an authority gives such a report any reasonable person will question the involvement of the telecom minister and the telecom secretary,” said the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

“This was the minimal expected of the CBI,” the court said adding that instead the investigating agency was beating around the bush saying that it has to examine 8,000 documents.

The court said this while hearing a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking court monitoring of the investigations by the CBI into the spectrum allocation.

In an obvious reference to former Minister A. Raja, the court asked: “Whether the person whose involvement in the matter is replete with notings and observations was examined?”

The court said that it was looking for answers on the question why no one had been questioned.

The court said that after revelation by such a body there should have been some action.

The court said that illegalities in the spectrum allocation were prima facie established as there is an FIR against unknown persons.

At this, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said: “Anything done in a tainted manner is certainly actionable.”

Responding to the court’s observations, CBI’s senior counsel K.K. Venugopal said that “according to our practice, we don’t go to a person unless we have a fool proof case so that we can examine that person”.

Venugopal said that the investigating agency never conducted investigations on a piecemeal basis questioning a person every time it got new information.

The senior counsel said that the CBI had examined a very large number of people and even as the investigating officer was present in the court, a managing director of a company was waiting in the CBI headquarters for interrogation.

Pointing to the petitioner’s submissions, Venugopal said that the investigating agency could not be told whom it should interrogate.

The court said that “if necessary, at a later stage we may direct”.

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