Domestic probe over, awaiting info from Malaysia, says CBI

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the CBI to file a charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case involving the former Union Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, and others irrespective of whether the Malaysian government furnishes information or not.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and K.S. Radhakrishnan gave this direction after senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the Bench that so far as the domestic probe was concerned, the CBI had completed its job. Letters Rogatory were sent again to Malaysia seeking further information on the probe relating to the Malaysian angle. Malaysia was bound by the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty but yet there was delay in furnishing the information.

Justice Singhvi made it clear to the CBI that the investigation on the Malaysian angle and the national angle should not be mixed up. “We are interested that the matter should conclude and the probe should reach its logical end and the probe should not be delayed on that count.”

When Mr. Venugopal said sanction for prosecution from the government was sought by the CBI on July 30 in respect of one person, Justice Singhvi said “there is no impediment to investigate the matter, which is monitored by this court for three years. No sanction is necessary.”

Counsel said the expert report on valuation of shares and forensic reports tracing the payments would be expected in four weeks and charge sheet filed in two months.

Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, said though the FIR was registered in 2011 there was no progress in the probe.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy also alleged that the CBI was going slow on the probe and filing the charge sheet. This prompted Justice Singhvi to observe, “At a given point of time the probe was satisfactory, now it is getting tardy.”

Finding that the Centre was not represented by any counsel, the Bench expressed its displeasure. “It is unfortunate that the Union of India is not serious in the matter and that is why nobody is appearing. They think it is a matter between the CBI and the petitioners,” it said.

The Bench asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to appear on the next date of hearing on August 7. It directed the CBI to produce in court the minutes of the meeting of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board on March 7, 2006, when the nod for the Aircel-Maxis deal was given.