The Supreme Court on Monday said that it would like to go through the TRAI report which said that there was no loss to public exchequer in the allotment to 2G spectrum during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu made a query in this regard with the CBI which said it was an inter-departmental communication and would place that report before it in a sealed envelope.
“It is not a public document and it is confidential,” Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Harin Raval, appearing for the agency, said.
The bench made the query when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Unitech Wireless’ Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, pointed out the newspaper reports which said that TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has come to the conclusion that there was no loss to public exchequer.
“If newspaper can get the report then why you have objection in placing it before us,” the bench said to which the CBI replied that it would place it in a sealed envelope.
“We want to know what TRAI said is correct or not. It (TRAI report) has come into public domain. Is it not a public document?, the Bench asked the ASG who reiterated that “it is not a public document“.
The Bench then asked “how the newspapers got the TRAI report. If it has been disclosed to the newspapers it cannot with withheld from us“.
The court was hearing bail pleas of Chandra and Swan Telecom’s Director Vinod Goenka who have alleged that the CBI was acting in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner in 2G spectrum case.
Mr. Jethmalani said the court should grant bail to the businessman as it was denied by the trial court as well as High Court on the ground that 2G allocation caused loss of Rs. 30,000 crore to the public exchequer.
“Grant of bail is a right and denial of bail is an exception,” he said adding that Chandra belongs to a respectable family and has no criminal record.
He also questioned the High Court order in which it was said that there was chance of the accused absconding after the bail.
Mr. Jethmalani said how could such inference be drawn when the businessman has thoroughly cooperated with the CBI during the probe and submitted himself to the trial court after filing of the chargesheet.
During the arguments on the framing of charges, the accused have said before the trial court that the CBI should submit the TRAI report.
When the CBI made it clear it was not having the TRAI report in its possession to place before the bench instantly, the judges said Mr. Jethmalani can go ahead with his arguments on the basis of the newspaper reports.
“You can go ahead on the basis the newspaper reports,” the bench told Mr. Jethmalani.
The court had issued notice to the CBI on August 9.
Goenka, also the MD of DB Realty, has sought that he be treated like DMK supremo Karunanidhi’s wife Dayaluammal and Chandra’s brother Ajay Chandra who have been only named as witnesses.
Mr. Chandra has contended in his petition all the decisions regarding the cut-off date and first-come-first-served policy for spectrum allocation was taken by Mr. Raja and DoT officials and he cannot be charged with the offence of conspiracy.