Supreme Court to examine contempt petition against Subrata Roy in 2G scam

Supreme Court to examine contempt petition against Subrata Roy in 2G scam

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine a contempt petition against Sahara group CEO Subrata Roy and two others for trying to “derail” court-monitored 2G scam investigation.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan issued notice to Roy and two journalists — Upendra Rai and Subodh Jain — asking them to show cause why proceedings be not initiated against them for interfering with the court-monitored criminal investigation.

This came as another blow to the Sahara Group as the apex court on November 21 prohibited all its companies from selling any property till further orders and also restrained Roy and other directors from leaving the country after Saharas’ “failure” to hand over “acceptable” title deeds of properties worth Rs 20,000 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for refunding its around 3 crore investors. 

In 2011, Enforcement Directorate’s assistant director Rajeshwar Singh alleged that both Rai and Jain made an attempt to scuttle the probe in the 2G case by asking him questions like who paid the bills of the birthday party of his daughter, and the bills of train and air fares to his visits to Mumbai and Lucknow.

He claimed that the attempt to “blackmail” started after notices were served to Roy twice first on February 2 and secondly on March 30 in 2011 seeking his response on alleged investments of Rs 14 crore and Rs 9.5 crore made by Sahara group company in S-Tel Ltd which was under the scanner in the 2G probe.

“The allegations raised by the petitioner in the contempt petition are of very serious nature and, if proved, would amount to interference with the administration of justice, especially in a court monitored investigation,” the bench said in its verdict, holding the contempt petition filed against Roy and journalists as maintainable.“Any interference, by anybody, to scuttle a court monitored investigation would amount to interfering with the administration of justice,” the court added.

The apex court on May 6 then issued a contempt notice to Roy and two others. They challenged the decision saying that the contempt action was not maintainable as it came without the consent of attorney general.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal submitted that no sanction from the attorney general was necessary when the apex court suo motu initiated the contempt proceedings in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 129 (power to punish for contempt) read with Article 142 (enforcement of SC orders) of the Constitution, irrespective of the provisions of the Act and the Rules to Regulate proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975.

“When a court monitors a criminal investigation it is the responsibility and duty of the court to see that the investigation is being carried out in the right direction and the officers, who are entrusted with the task be not intimidated or pressured by any person, however high he may be,” the bench said.

“Law is well settled that the powers of the Supreme Court in contempt matters are not confined merely to the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act and the Rules framed thereunder,” the court said, adding the consent of the attorney general is not necessary for the purpose.

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