Even as the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed senior advocate Uday Lalit for the post of special public prosecutor (SPP), the Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it would pass orders on April 11, directing the government to appoint him as the SPP to lead a team of prosecutors to conduct the 2G spectrum allocation case trial in the special court on a day-to-day basis without any adjournments.
A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly asked the CBI to inform the court on April 11 the status of the proposed second charge sheet.
In the last hearing on April 5, Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati expressed the government's reservations about Mr. Lalit being appointed as the SPP, saying it was the prerogative of the Centre to appoint an SPP as per the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Mr. Lalit might not qualify as per the specifications prescribed under the Act for such appointment, he said.
On Friday, Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising told the Bench that the Union of India, after in- depth consideration of the entire matter, and in discharge of its obligations under the statutory provisions, would make the necessary appointment of an SPP in respect of both the CBI matter as well as the Money Laundering matter within one week.
At this stage it might not be appropriate or necessary to go into the scope of Section 46 (2) of the PMLA (dealing with SPP appointment), she said and sought a week's adjournment.
However, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, submitted that he had given the name of Mr. Lalit on the court's suggestion as he fulfilled the qualifications.
But Additional Solicitor-General Harin Raval, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, who was earlier supporting the CBI, opposed the court's intervention in this regard.
He quoted an earlier judgment and said it was up to the government and the prosecuting agency to appoint the SPP and not for the court to do so.
Rejecting the Centre and the ED's opposition to Mr. Lalit's name for the SPP post, Justice Singhvi told counsel: “We intend to pass an order directing the Union of India to appoint Mr. Lalit as the SPP, who will have a choice to select his team of other prosecutors. We make it clear that the trial will go on a day-to-day basis without adjournment and no court shall pass any order that will impede the trial and all such applications will have to be filed in the Supreme Court only.”
Mr. Venugopal said the second charge sheet on bribery angle would be filed before April 24.