Counsel for CBI says Vigilance Commissioner R. Sreekumar may be charged with the task

Even as both the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation submitted that there would be no objection to the Supreme Court monitoring the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly questioned the objectivity of the Central Vigilance Commissioner P. J. Thomas in supervising the investigation.

When Justice Singhvi expressed reservations about the CVC monitoring the probe, Mr. Subramaniam submitted that he would seek instructions from the government and respond to the court on Wednesday.

Mr. Venugopal submitted that besides the Central Vigilance Commissioner, there were two other Vigilance Commissioners. When he said one of hem, R. Sreekumar, a former DGP from Karnataka, could be asked to monitor the probe, Mr. Bhushan said he had no objection as “Mr. Sreekumar enjoys a good reputation.”

Mr. Bhushan, however, insisted that apart from Mr. Sreekumar, the court appoint another officer to ensure a fair supervision of the investigation.

Earlier, when Justice Ganguly wanted to know from the Solicitor-General whether the Centre had any objection to the court monitoring the probe and issuing continuing mandamus, Mr. Subramaniam said the government would have no objection, as it was not at the cross purpose with the court with regard to the investigation. Mr. Venugopal, however, made it clear that no outsider should be appointed to monitor the probe.

Even as Mr. Bhushan was reading out the excerpts of the tapes, Justice Singhvi, expressing his anguish, orally observed: “Not only are we talking about the pollution of the Ganga for the past 28-30 years. This pollution is mind-boggling. We do not live in a world of illusion. This is real. It is the concern of the entire community.”

Mr. Bhushan, explaining Ms. Radia's influence, said that soon after retirement, the former TRAI Chairman, Pradeep Baijal, joined her firm as CEO and had been lobbying n the government on behalf of the firm.

Mr. Subramaniam explained the telecom policy since 1994 and said the purpose of not auctioning off the 2G spectrum was to create a level playing field.

On the allegation that those without any experience in the telecom sector were also allowed to compete, he said it was intended to prevent cartelisation. The object of the sale of 2G spectrum was to increase the tele-density rather than earn revenue, whereas the aim of the auction of 3G spectrum was to earn more income. All actions, even if they were arbitrary, need not attract criminal action. However, if anyone was found culpable, he would not be let off, Mr. Subramaniam assured the court.

Arguments will continue on Wednesday.

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