The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday strongly opposed any probe against Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram, sought by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy in the Supreme Court for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Dr. Swamy asserted before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly that the court's direction for a CBI to probe into the role of the then Finance Minister, Mr. Chidambaram, was required as the agency was trying to give him a clean chit. He was an active partner, not a passive partner, in arriving at a decision with the then Telecom Minister, A. Raja, to undervalue 2G licences. .
However, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said once the charge sheet was filed in the trial court, Dr. Swamy could not ask the agency to investigate the role of a particular person. He said the court could not direct the CBI to conduct the investigation in a particular manner or from a particular angle.
Dr. Swamy, citing various documents, said: “We have evidence now that Mr. Chidambaram had three separate meetings with Mr. Raja and decided to grant 2G licences at 2001 prices and at one meeting with Mr. Raja and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister was apprised of the price fixation.”
Subsequent to a statement by Dr. Singh in Parliament, it was a known fact that Mr. Raja alone was not responsible for allocating spectrum, Dr. Swamy said and wanted Mr. Chidambaram's testimony recorded afresh. When he referred to Mr. Chidambaram's role, as mentioned in the Public Accounts Committee report which, however, was not accepted by Parliament, Mr. Venugopal opposed Mr. Swamy making any reference to the PAC report as it was a privileged document.
Counsel said any decision to probe Mr. Chidambaram's role could be taken only by the trial court and not by the Supreme Court as the main charge sheet and the supplementary charge sheet had already been filed and the case was set for framing of charges against the accused.
Mr. Venugopal said Dr. Swami had filed a similar application in the trial court and “he cannot ride two horses at the same time.”
Investigations had been completed into the role of Mr. Raja, the conspiracy angle and his other alleged offences, and whatever documents Dr. Swamy furnished to the court did not pertain to the 2G spectrum allocation, counsel said.
“Except in regard to the ongoing investigation of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran [another former Telecom Minister], all issues outlined in Mr. Swami's application arise out of the charge sheet and the supplementary charge sheet already filed, and are matters exclusively assigned to the trial court under Sections 173 (8) and 319 Cr.PC.” Thus these were outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court monitoring the investigation, Mr. Venugopal said. “If the trial court finds that there is any wrongdoer, then it can add the person in the list of the accused. The case is not a narrow one and it has huge ramifications.”
Arguments will continue on Wednesday.