New Delhi: Giving a blow to the Central Government, the Supreme Court on Monday gave its nod for the appointment of senior counsel Uday Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 2G scam case.

Dismissing the government's contention, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly held that the relevant provision in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act does not mean that the special prosecutor should be a lawyer in the panel of either the state or the Central government.

"U U Lalit satisfies the said requirement quite adequately. Therefore, we are unable to accept the contention of the Union of India and we hold that in the interest of a fair prosecution of the case, the appointment of U U Lalit is eminently suitable," the bench said.

It also directed the government to issue a notification for the appointment of Lalit for the trial in the multi-crore scam, in which former Telecom Minister A Raja, top corporate honchos, bureaucrats and telecom firms are involved.

Lalit, the court said, may choose other advocates who are already on the panel of CBI to assist him. "Considering the magnitude of the case, we are of the view that Mr Lalit may choose two persons from the panel," the order said.

The bench directed the special court, exclusively set up for holding the trial of the 2G spectrum case, to hold day-to-day trial without any adjournment.
    
The court's order today ends the uncertainty on the issue after the government was at odds with the CBI over the agency's decision to appoint Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor in the case, saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task.

The Centre had raised objections on the ground that he had not worked under the state or the Union government for seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The bench, after passing the order, adjourned the matter for April 26 after the CBI informed it that supplementary charge sheet will be filed in the case by April 24 relating to bribery.

JPN/Bureau