Sibal's attack on CAG may prejudice CBI investigations, he says

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has moved the Supreme Court for a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to ensure that there was no interference in the 2G spectrum case probe, as he apprehended interference following the statement of Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal.

Dr. Swamy submitted that Mr. Sibal held a news conference recently and it was carried by the media through the length and breadth of the country. He said it was evident from these reports that it was the Minister's considered view that there was little or no wrongdoing, and hence whatever had gone wrong could be set right with a small fine. Mr. Sibal criticised the approach of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (in estimating the loss to the nation by the illegal awarding of licences and the allocation of 2G spectrum) in a manner tantamount to ridiculing the CAG. “He has even gone to the extent of issuing a veiled warning of a breach of secrecy on the part of the CAG, thereby intending to overawe an institution constitutionally empowered to oversee the finances of the government.”

Dr. Swamy said: “Since the Supreme Court has directed monitoring of the CBI investigations into the criminal culpabilities in the 2G spectrum scam and specifically directed that the CBI take the said CAG report as a basis, it is apprehended that this intemperate and uncalled for public attack on the CAG methodology, before the national press and consequent extensive media publicity, may prejudice the CBI investigations and cause an obstruction to justice.”

“There is, therefore, urgency to ensure that the said CBI inquiry is carried out without interference for which purpose the monitoring was directed by this court. Nothing must permit the slightest derogation from that objective.

“The government has already collected Rs.73.73 crore as penalty by way of liquidated damages for certain infractions of the issued licenses. The total money proposed to be collected [around Rs. 219 crore at the highest] amounts to not even 1per cent of even the most conservative estimates of what these licenses would have fetched in the open market.

“It is apprehended that further such adjudication by the respondent may be carried out pendente lite, thereby leading to further compounding of these and other further instances of infractions; and it is apprehended that by the payment of such compounding fees etc., rights to regularisation may be claimed by the defaulting licensees. And this may lead to further losses to the public exchequer.”

Dr. Swamy, whose main prayer in the main petition was for a direction for fresh auction of spectrum, wanted the court to direct that all such and further adjudication by the government be not carried out except under the supervision of the court; and that all such moves be subject to orders and final judgment of the court.

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