Vahanvati to appear for PM in SC

Rethink on licence cancellation: Added costs on telcos enough

Vahanvati to  appear for PM in SC

Vahanvati is expected to file an affidavit on behalf of the Prime Minister on Saturday, the deadline given on Thursday by the apex court which had questioned his “alleged inaction” on a plea seeking sanction to prosecute Raja in the spectrum case.

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said since the Solicitor General was already representing the Department of Telecom (DoT), Vahanvati has been authorised to represent the prime minister.

However, there is a view in government circles that Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium and other law officers had not adequately presented the government’s side in the Supreme Court which had questioned the prime minister for not taking action against former Telecom Minister A Raja.

Subramanium has, however, denied he fell short of defending the prime minister in the court saying he was proud to represent the prime minister and whatever was being said (against him) has “no sense”.

Licence cancellation

Meanwhile, the government is rethinking on cancelling 69 licences issued to five firms, as recommended by the TRAI, and it could now ask the new telecom operators to cough up additional money instead of cancelling their licences. This follows a view among officials that scrapping the licences might not be a viable solution as it could invite law suits.

Sources indicated that the government will look at the eligibility criteria based on which the players were allotted spectrum and, if required, the new players would be asked to pay more fees to make up for the loss to the exchequer.

Moily insisted  there was no change in the government’s representation before the apex court.

Claiming that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not served notice in the case earlier, Law Minister Moily told reporters here: “There is no change in the government’s representation...the solicitor general will represent the DoT while (Additional Solicitor General) Haren Raval will represent the CBI as they are separate entities”.

“Now (with the Supreme Court asking the Central government to file an affidavit on the PMO’s correspondence with Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy) it is a different case. Since the solicitor general was present, he represented (the PM). Now we are making a pucca case,” the minister said.

Inefficient defence

Denying that inefficient defence could be the reason for the replacing the solicitor general, he said Subramanium was an “important person and a brilliant lawyer... you must not read between that.”

Swamy on Friday said he had no objection to the attorney general representing the prime minister.

“I have no objection if Vahanvati defends the prime minister. But if he comes for the 2G case, then I have a problem,” said Swamy, who had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a direction to the prime minister for granting sanction for Raja’s prosecution.

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