Questioning the special court order summoning Anil Ambani and wife Tina as witnesses in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Reliance Telecom Ltd. on Monday told the Supreme Court the directive was aimed at only helping the CBI, which was simply seeking camouflage the lacunae in its investigation.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and K.S. Radhakrishnan that the CBI was groping in the dark with its shoddy investigation. The trial had been going on for the last 20 months and the agency had already examined 140 witnesses.
The CBI made a belated application in December 2012 for summoning of additional witnesses including Mr. Ambani and Tina at a stage when trial was nearing completion and prosecution evidence was at the fag end. There was nothing to discover from Mr. Ambani as he had “already given his statement to the CBI under Section 161 Cr.PC on February 16, 2011, counsel said.
Counsel pointed out that Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code, under which the CBI’s application was allowed by the special court, was not a tool to help the prosecution — more so when the whole trial procedure “had gone for a toss”.
Mr. Rohatgi said he was constrained to file the appeal directly before the Supreme Court in view of its April 2011 order barring the Delhi High Court from entertaining any appeals arising from the special court order. The Bench then suggested that counsel file an application for modification of the April 2011 order.
Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani said the April 11, 2011 order was coming in way of a fair trial which the accused deserved. He said the order, which also dealt with appointment of a special public prosecutor in the case, was causing serious problems. For, the public prosecutor was behaving like a “demi-god” in the special court. “By this order, you [Supreme Court] have repealed Article 226 of the Constitution [writ jurisdiction of High Court] and we are facing a serious problem.”
Arguments will continue on Thursday.