Attorney General (AG) Ghoolam E. Vahanvati is likely to appear on February 27 before a Delhi court trying the 2G spectrum allocation scam accused to depose as a prosecution witness in the case.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged that former Telecom Minister A Raja, in conspiracy with co-accused and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, had “fraudulently portrayed” to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) that the amended draft of the press release regarding issuance of letters of intents (LoIs) to the telecom firms had the consent of the then Solicitor General Vahanvati.
The CBI had also alleged that the amendment in the press release “led to redefining the concept of the first come first served on the basis of priority in submission of compliance of the LoI against the established practice of priority in order of receipt of application“.
The agency has submitted a fresh list of prosecution witnesses to be called for recording of their statements in the case before Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini and Mr. Vahanvati’s deposition is listed for February 27.
During the probe into the case, Mr. Vahanvati had told the CBI that in 2007 he was the Solicitor General and to the best of his recollection “on January 7, 2008, an officer or officers of the DoT came to my residence and asked me whether there was any stay of any court with regard to the issue of LoIs.”
Mr. Vahanvati had said that he had told the DoT officer that there was no such stay after which he was shown a draft of a press release.
“Accordingly, I noted that ‘I have seen the notes. The issues regarding new LoIs are not before any court. What is proposed is fair and reasonable. The press release makes for transparency. This seems to be in order’,” he had said in his statement recorded by the CBI on March 10, 2011.
Mr. Vahanvati had also told the CBI that Mr. Behura had come to him to obtain his opinion on the press release.
“On being shown the altered press release which is from the file, I have to state that to the best of my recollection this was never shown to me. I am shown a note in the file said to have been signed by the minister.
“My attention has been drawn to the words ‘press release appd as amended’ If by this is intended to convey that the press release as amended was approved by me, I have to say that this is not correct,” he had said.
Dealing with the violations of the first-come-first-serve (FCFS) basis policy, the CBI had alleged in its charge sheet that “the distribution of LoIs was not in FCFS manner and the wilful design of such distribution resulted into disorderly manner of priority.”
It had alleged that the “ill conceived” design of establishing four counters to distribute LoIs to the companies made a “mockery” of the FCFS policy.