SC dials Raja on spectrum scam

Last Updated 13 September 2010, 19:15 IST

A Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly asked the Centre, Raja, CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department to file their replies within 10 days.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a registered civil society body, alleged that the Union government was trying to put a lid on the CBI investigation being carried out on the direction of the Central Vigilance Commission.
The other petitioners in the case are Telecom Watchdog, an NGO, and Paranjoy Guha Thakurtha, a journalist.

Bhushan said the petitioners had filed a plea seeking a thorough court-monitored investigation either by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or by a special team of the CBI into the 2G spectrum allocation scam that has caused the national exchequer an estimated Rs 70,000 crore and led to huge national outrage. “Simply in terms of the scale of money that has been swindled, it is easily the biggest scam that this country has ever seen,” the petition said.“A sitting Union Cabinet minister has been found to be directly involved and tapes of his conversations with corporate middlemen are available,” said the petition.

The judges wanted to know how the CBI was unaware against whom the investigations were on, despite continuing the process for several months and filing an FIR against unknown telecom ministry officials.The bench observed: “Why the CBI is so uncertain about the charges and the involvement of the Department of Telecom officials?”

Telephonic conversation
On the allegations of some telephonic conversation of Raja with a lady who had been a mediator, the court said: “If they have heard the conversation, why do they (CBI) say they might have had.

“The entire investigation being carried out by the CBI has been scuttled to protect vested political interests, corporate and other middlemen involved. That is why to ensure people’s right to life in a corruption-free environment and to enforce the rule of law, the petitioners had moved the Delhi High Court. The petitioners had sought a thorough investigation by a court-appointed SIT, or in the alternative, the investigation which is being carried out by the CBI be court monitored,” the petition said.

The petitioners have challenged the dismissal of their petitions by the Delhi High Court on May 25, 2010 saying that the High Court could not monitor a CBI probe.

Direction sought
Bhushan has sought direction to call for entire records of investigation from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate into the alleged 2G spectrum scam and direct them to produce regular and periodic status reports.

The petitioners submitted that the conversation between Raja and the mediator was telecast in a TV news channel and in public domain.

The petitioners have produced several communications, including from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance secretary and others, to Raja asking him to ensure that 2G spectrum was allocated in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.

(Published 13 September 2010, 08:02 IST)

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