The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it would complete the investigation in the 2G spectrum case and file a charge sheet in the competent court by March 31.
Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI gave this assurance before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly, hearing the case.
The Bench, while taking on record the status reports filed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, barred any other court in the country from passing any order which could impede investigation of the case.
Mr. Venugopal submitted that investigation into the money trail abroad would be completed by May 31. When he sought a month's time to inform the court as to what action the CBI proposed to take against the beneficiaries, Justice Singhvi said, “We will scrutinise the draft charge sheet before it is filed in the special court.”
Earlier counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, pointed out that the agencies had not questioned the heads of several companies including Swan Technology, which was controlled by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group, when the spectrum was allocated. He also alleged that the CBI had left out many corporate houses involved in the scam.
Justice Ganguly told Mr. Venugopal: “Top authorities of the companies were not questioned. It is surprising that the Managing Directors were not summoned. Why has the CBI not taken any action in this regard?”
Justice Singhvi wanted the CBI to probe why Finance Ministry officials were not consulted when the decision on allocation of spectrum was taken by changing the policy. The judge said: “This is the starting point. The exclusion of Secretary, Ministry of Finance, at the most crucial stage and why four important persons who really mattered were excluded must be probed.”
Reading out the summary of the status reports, Mr. Venugopal said the probe so far had established that even before licences were issued and registered, money transaction had started taking place within the country and in foreign countries like Singapore and Dubai. Borrowings were made from various foreign banks, he said, and pointed out that details were given in the report about the 10 companies which were covered in the investigation.
At this Justice Singhvi asked counsel: “What action have you taken against TRAI officials? Why has it not been done so far when you have mentioned in the status report that it was the TRAI decision of 2003 which triggered the scam.” Counsel said investigation was proceeding on the right track and every aspect would be covered. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on March 1.