New Delhi: The Central government on Tuesday opposed in the Supreme Court any CBI probe against Home Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the 2G spectrum case. "There is no need to pass any order on the interim application (filed by Swamy)," senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for the Centre told a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has sought a direction to the CBI to initiate investigations against the senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister.
During the course of the hearing, CBI raised objections to the Centre's stand that the investigating agency will be looking into the documents placed by Swamy and file a status report before the court.
"CBI is autonomous and CBI is independent," CBI counsel and senior advocate K K Venugopal said, adding an impression has been created in the section of media that the agency was defending Chidamabram.
Swamy sought to make differentiation between his application filed before the apex court and the pending complaint before the Special Court saying that he was approaching the Supreme Court as the trial court did not have the jurisdiction to direct CBI probe in any given case.
He replied in affirmative to the Bench's question that he was seeking a direction for the CBI to probe the alleged role of Chidambaram on the documents placed by him.
The Centre, which has questioned the jurisdiction of the Apex Court on the monitoring of the probe after the filing of the two chargesheets in the case, said the 2G case should now be left to the trial court and the CBI.
"There is no reason to believe that CBI will not discharge its function," Rao told the Bench, while clarifying that he was only appearing for the Centre in the case. Rao said he is not appearing for any individual.
"I am not appearing for any person. I am only appearing for Union of India," he said and added that the identical application by Swamy was pending before the Special Judge O P Saini and the Apex Court has no jurisdiction to entertain his plea.
During the last hearing on September 22, the CBI had blamed the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for "jumping the gun" in spectrum allocation and had pleaded with the bench not to pass any order on Swamy's plea for a CBI probe.
The agency had said Chidamabaram, who was then the Finance Minister, cannot be held responsible for the decision not to auction the radio waves as the Ministry of Finance was represented on the issue by the Finance Secretary during its meeting with the Ministry of Telecom then headed by A Raja.
Like the CBI, the Centre also said the Apex Court can continue to monitor probe of other two cases about the alleged role of former union minister Dayanidhi Maran and the corporate house, Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the scam.
However, Swamy said CBI probe into the 2G scam was "truncated" and large number of documents brought by him on the alleged culpability of Chidambaram, who was then the Finance Minister, has not been denied.
"The material I have submitted fix squarely that Chidambaram was in the know of the commission of offence," he said, adding that former jailed Telecom Minister A Raja alone cannot be held responsible for the scam.
"Raja and Chidambaram had a meeting of mind in the commission of offence. Investigation by the CBI is a truncated investigation," Swamy said, adding the investigating agency cannot segregate the prosecution of Raja.
Raja seeks recall of SC order
Former Telecom Minister A Raja on Tuesday made a strong plea in the Supreme Court to recall its order of not granting bail to 2G scam accused before the framing of charges in view of delay in the proceedings in the trial court.
Senior Advocate Sushil Kumar, appearing for Raja, contended that it should be made clear whether the probe in the case has been completed or not after the CBI had taken different stands before the Special CBI court and the Apex Court.
"In the trial court CBI says that the investigation is complete but in the Supreme Court it says that probe is still going on. In the meantime I am suffering and I want to know what is the status of the probe whether it is on or has been completed," he said before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
He said the trial court had adjourned the order on the framing of charges which was scheduled to be pronounced on September 15.
"An accused must know whether the investigation is on or has been completed. If the probe is complete then the trial must begin in the case. Look at our plight also. Find out a way for us. Kindly recall your order and allow us to apply for bail," he said.
He said CBI has slapped additional charges of breach of trust against the accused on Monday.
The Court, however, refused to pass any order and said that he can seek "appropriate remedy". It refused to elaborate on what constituted appropriate remedy when Kumar sought clarification.
Raja criticizes CBI for not filing documents
A Raja accused CBI in a Delhi court on Tuesday of willfully not filing on record the documents of telecom regulator TRAI in 2G spectrum allocation scam case.
"I know I am here in the country's one of the biggest scam case. I am not joking but with due respect to CBI, even a Sub-Inspector of Tilak Marg police station here will not write or file such a charge sheet unless or until he has something wrong in his mind," Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
The DMK leader said he did not violate norms regarding the roaming facility and this was existing even before he took over the charge as Telecom Minister.
"I did not violate norms regarding roaming facility. CBI should prove that before I took charge as Telecom Minister, roaming facility was unknown to this country. But if I prove that roaming was already existing here and it was approved by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), then there is nothing against me," Raja, who argued himself, said.
He said his actions on roaming facilities were as per TRAI guidelines.
CBI, which referred to a letter of April 24, 2008, of the TRAI Chairman in its charge sheet, did not file it on the court's record till date, he said.
"CBI is interpreting from the letter of the TRAI Chairman that I breached the norms by violating TRAI Act but is not filing it in the court. I want to accuse CBI that it is willfully not submitting full documents which will show the real interpretation of the documents," he said.
The court was hearing arguments on a Law Ministry report which said a firm should have more than 10 per cent stake in another for being its 'associate'.
Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and Swan Telecom Private Ltd (STPL), an alleged beneficiary of the scam, have been trying to use the Law Ministry report in their favour.
RTL and STPL have taken the defence that they were not "associate" firms as RTL's stake in STPL was below 10 per cent, as mandated under the guidelines for the Unified Access Service (UAS) Licenses.
CBI, on the other hand, has been alleging STPL was an associate firm of RTL created to circumvent the then guidelines of DoT which debarred existing CDMA players from venturing into GSM segment.
RTL later passed on the control of STPL to promoter and co-accused Shahid Usman Balwa after DoT allowed it to avail the facility of dual technology, the agency had said.
During the arguments, Raja, who spoke about 25 minutes, said CBI's allegation was wrong that he changed intra-circle roaming policy to favour Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.
Senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, said the Law Ministry report was filed on the records at the direction of the court and now CBI cannot say that it did not rely on the report.
"The case cannot proceed in this way that if there is a document which goes in favour of the accused and shows no charges are made out against them then CBI asks the court not to go through the document," he said.
New Delhi: The Central government on Tuesday opposed in the Supreme Court any CBI probe against Home Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the 2G spectrum case.
"There is no need to pass any order on the interim application (filed by Swamy)," senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for the Centre told a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.