The Supreme Court was Wednesday told that the probe into the 2G scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was ‘less than honest’ as it failed to examine the role of the then finance minister and present Home Minister P. Chidambaram over the fixing of spectrum price.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) said: ‘The CBI was not doing a fair and impartial investigation irrespective of the status of the person sought to be investigated as was directed by the apex court order of Dec 16, 2010.’
The petitioner sought the appointment of experts for monitoring and supervising investigations on a day-to-day basis.
The apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly was told that ‘the role of Chidambaram has not been examined by the CBI where as a finance ministry note made it absolutely clear that the allocation of 2G licence along with spectrum in 2008 at 2001 price was jointly decided by former telecom minister A. Raja and Chidambaram’.
The petitioner was referring to the office memorandum sent by finance ministry Deputy Director P.G.S. Rao March 26, to Joint Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Vini Mahajan.
Appearing for the CPIL, counsel Prashant Bhushan said that ever since Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy made a plea seeking a CBI investigation against Chidambaram, the investigating agency had been saying the probe was already over and the apex court should stop monitoring it.
Seeking supervision of investigations on a day-to-day basis, Bhushan said: ‘If this is not done, then this case might suffer the same fate as others where the accused were acquitted due to slipshod investigations and weak charge sheets by the CBI, or like the recent cash-for-votes scandal where the real beneficiaries so far appear to have gotten away.’
Referring to the apex court direction in the black money case, Bhushan told the court that three independent experts could monitor and supervise CBI’s investigations and assist the court.
The court was told that when Chidambaram along with Raja decided on the price of 2G spectrum he was aware of the market price of the same because as the finance minister he had cleared the proposal for infusing foreign equity into the companies that got 2G licences.
Bhushan told the court that Raja took the opinion of the then solicitor general and present Attorney General G. Vahanvati at every step before the issuance of licences.
Justice Singhvi observed that lawyers could not be hauled up for giving professional opinion. If this becomes a situation then no lawyer would give his opinion, the court said.
Bhushan told the court that while the CBI had booked the senior executives of the telecom companies involved in the 2G scam, it had not touched the owners of these companies.
The hearing would continue Thursday when Venugopal would reply to the CPIL plea