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Updated: May 7, 2011 02:31 IST

Contempt proceedings against Sahara chief begin

J. Venkatesan
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Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar Subrata Roy.
Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar Subrata Roy.

The Supreme Court on Friday issued contempt notice to the Managing Director of Sahara Group Subrata Roy and two others for allegedly interfering with the investigation into the 2G spectrum case and in the administration of justice.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly issued notice, taking serious view of a questionnaire sent by a reporter of Sahara Samay Television seeking personal information from the investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh, Assistant Director, Enforcement Directorate, New Delhi zonal office, soon after summons were issued to Mr. Roy under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for recording his statement.

The Bench, after hearing senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Mr. Singh also issued notice to Upendra Rai, Editor and News Director of Sahara India and Subodh Jain, reporter seeking their response in six weeks, rejoinder in two weeks thereafter and directed the matter to be listed after eight weeks. Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, appeared for Mr. Roy and Mr. Upendra Rai.

The Bench in its order said: “Having gone through the records we are prima facie of the view that an attempt has been made to interfere with the investigation conducted by Mr. Rajeshwar Singh in what has been described as 2G spectrum scam case and related matters. Therefore, we take suo motu cognisance and issue notices to them.”

The Bench recorded an undertaking from Mr. Luthra that the Sahara India News Network and its sister concerns would not publish/ broadcast any story or programme relating to Mr. Singh on the basis of the 25 questions sent by the reporter.

Justice Singhvi made it clear that no story or programme should be published or telecast. “If it happens somebody will become a government guest. This should not happen. This is unacceptable. They should know what the lakshman rekha is.”

Earlier, Mr. Venugopal submitted that after summons were issued asking Mr. Roy to appear before the ED with documents relating to some money transactions which had come under the scanner of CBI on the issue of national security, he did not appear for the summons. Thereafter these questions were sent seeking the response of Mr. Rajeshwar Singh, he said and added they were meant only to threaten and prevent him from conducting further investigation.

Justice Singhvi observed: “It is nothing but a clear-cut threat to the investigating officer when the investigations are on. Nobody needs to read in between the lines. It is ridiculous that the personal life of Mr. Singh has been tried to be sullied after notice was issued. Nexus is more than apparent. People should not take law into their hands. If somebody comes out with threat, it amounts to interference with the investigation.”

The Bench made it clear that it had already passed an order that there should not be any interference from anyone including the media. Therefore, any attempt to interfere with the investigation would be viewed seriously, it said and issued the contempt notice.

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