On a special leave petition seeking a thorough investigation
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Centre, and Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja on a special leave petition seeking a thorough investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, which cost the exchequer an estimated loss of Rs.70,000 crore.
A Bench comprising Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly issued notice after hearing counsel Prashant Bhushan — appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others — questioning the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition.
The Bench sought the reply from the respondents in 10 days and directed the matter to be listed thereafter.
When Mr. Bhushan submitted that the CBI had registered the FIR against unnamed Telecom Ministry officials, Justice Singhvi wondered how the CBI could file an FIR without disclosing the names of the accused.
He also wanted to know how the CBI, which was conducting the probe, did not know against whom the investigation was proceeding and why it was so uncertain about the charges.
Further, the Judge asked why when the Department of Telecommunications had given a letter to the CBI about the conversation between Nira Radia of M/s Noesis Consultancy and Mr. Raja, it had said: “They might have had some conversation.”
The petitioners — the CPIL, Telecom Watchdog, and senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta — challenged the High Court order, stating that Mr. Raja was directly involved in the scam.
It was alleged that the entire CBI investigation was to protect vested political interests, corporates, and other middlemen involved.
The petitioners said: “This is a case which is extremely politically sensitive and has caused huge embarrassment to the Central government. It also involves a sitting Cabinet Minister [Mr. Raja] who belongs to a political party [DMK] which is supporting the government, without which the government cannot survive.”
They also produced several communications — including from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Finance Secretary and others — to Mr. Raja asking him to ensure that 2G spectrum was allocated in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.