New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from CBI and the Enforcement Directorate over a charge that they were going soft on companies like Essar, Loop and their promoters by not slapping corruption charges against them in the case arising out of the 2G spectrum scam.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly issued notice to them to also respond on the probe done against the former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran after it was alleged that CBI was not doing anything after registering FIR.

READ MORE:2G: JPC to quiz Finance Secretary

The court passed the order on an application filed by an NGO alleging that CBI's decision not to book Essar Group and its promoters under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been "facilitated" by the intervention of CBI Director and Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

The bench, after holding a brief hearing in the case, asked the agencies to file their response in 10 days on all these allegation and posted the matter for further hearing on
January 20.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, contended that CBI's decision not to slap charges under PCA was in contradiction of the investigation officers' report which had found "strong evidence in the case and had apparently/reportedly proposed charges even under the Act."

"Therefore, not charging the accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act ignoring the findings of the Investigating Officers, is unwarranted. This is unacceptable, especially, in a case where the investigations are being monitored by this Court and investigating officers are reporting to the Court," he told the told court.

Bhushan alleged that the present Law Minister was trying to "influence" the probe against Essar group.

"The interference of an influential Minister in the Government, the Law Minister Mr Salman Khurshid, is evident. He is publicly giving clean chit to Essar/Loop," Bhushan said.

"It is to be noted that this case is similar to that of Swan-Reliance wherein CBI has already filed charge-sheets against officials of Swan, Reliance and also the public officials.

The charge sheets include charges under Prevention of Corruption Act. The above developments are likely to weaken the prosecution case in the matter of Swan-Reliance as well," the NGO said.

The agency had on December 12 filed the third charge sheet against Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan.

The agency also named three companies-- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding as
accused in the case.
All of them have been charge sheeted under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. Essar
Group in a statement had denied the allegations against them.

The NGO also demanded that the agency should probe the role another company Shyam Telelink Ltd, which had got licences, during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja, and in which Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov has invested money.

Questioning the CBI probe against Maran, CPIL said that the investigating agency is deliberately going slow against the DMK MP.

"The  CBI filed an FIR on October 9, 2011 and searched the premises of the accused on October 10, 2011. Since then over two months have passed, the CBI is deliberately going slow in the case and has not made any arrests in the case.

"Petitioners submit that this was the most clear-cut case of corruption and quid pro quo, and is being made weak by the CBI. Charge sheet should have been filed in this case several months back," the NGO said.

(Agencies)