PMO blames delay on red tape

PMO blames delay on red tape

Law ministry advised against Rajas prosecution, says affidavit

PMO blames delay on  red tape

The affidavit  said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had dealt with every letter from Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy. 

The 11-page affidavit suggests  bureaucratic red tape apparently playing a role in delaying an early response to Swamy’s letters. Starting November 29, 2008, Swamy shot off  five letters to the PMO, requistioning the prime minister’s approval for prosecuting Raja, charging him with engaging in corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

The affidavit says the prime minister had considered sanctioning prosecution of Raja. However, the PMO went by the Law Ministry’s advice that the evidence collected by the CBI was necessary before taking a decision in this regard.

The ministry’s advice to the PMO came on February 8, 2010, and the CBI took up the telecom case in 2009.

The affidavit was filed  through Director, PMO, V Vidyawati, in compliance with the direction given by a Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly that had criticised the PMO for the “inaction” and “silence” from the part of the prime minister in taking any step on the spectrum scam. The court will now hear the case on Tuesday. The affidavit lists in chronological order various letters received from  Swamy since November 29, 2008, and how the PM responded to them.

“According to the advice received from the Department of Legal Affairs, the decision of granting sanction for prosecution may be determined only after the perusal of the evidence (oral or documentary) collected by the investigating agency,  CBI, and other materials to be provided by the competent authorities.

“On this note, the Joint Secretary (PMO) suggested that the Ministry of Law and Justice could be requested to send an appropriate response to the petitioner Swamy. This was approved by the prime minister on February 13, 2010,” the PMO official said.

“It was suggested that the Department Of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which is administratively concerned with the matter, be requested to send a reply to Swamy,” the director said and elaborated that she had prepared a note in this regard on March 5, 2010, for the DoPT which was “considered at various levels and approved.”

The affidavit said that based on Swamy’s letter dated March 8, 2010, a request was sent to the Secretary, DoPT and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to immediately give the status of the communication from the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and registration of the case by the CBI. The note on the response of DoT and DoPT was duly considered and approved by the principal secretary to the prime minister, the affidavit said.

The PMO asked the DoPT to send an appropriate reply to Swamy which was done on March 19, 2010.

Swamy, during the hearing in the apex court on Thursday, said he had received only one reply from the PMO. Swamy said on Saturday that the affidavit confirms all issues he had raised on the spectrum allocation and said he was now free to approach a lower court to seek the prosecution of the former telecom minister.

PM SPEAK

*In his first public comments on the 2G Spectrum scam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says his government is not afraid of discussion.

*Various aspects are being looked into by investigative agencies, says Singh.

*The prime minister appeals to all political parties to let Parliament function properly.

* A visibly distraught prime minister speaks of “the testing times that we in India are always living in.”

* “Indeed as PM, I sometimes feel like a high school student going from one test to another,” says Singh  

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