'2G scam: Only SC can ensure fair probe'

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: The Supreme Court had recently admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) petition demanding a court-monitored investigation into Union Telecommunications Minister A Raja's role in the Rs 70,000 crore 2G spectrum scam and issued notices to the minister and different agencies of the Government of India asking them to respond within ten days to the petition.


Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, one of the petitioners, insists that the monitoring of the investigations by the Supreme Court is essential given the magnitude of the alleged scam that reportedly caused a loss of Rs. 70,000 crore to the national exchequer, and also the 'slow going' CBI investigations into the scam.

Terming the alleged scam as the biggest in the history of India he says, “How can we expect that the investigative agency is not being pressurized as the Telecommunications Ministry is headed by A.Raja, who is part of DMK, a part of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre?”

Thakurta further added that the modus operandi of the scam is an open secret and the role played by the Department of Telecommunication under Raja have been indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), Directorate General of Income Tax (DGIT) and the High Court of Delhi on different occasions.


The petitioners have reasoned before the SC that the “CBI is investigating the case, more or less, as a department of the Central Government”.

“This is a case against the corrupt policies and actions of the Central Government. The CBI has a very bad record in politically sensitive cases as is clear from the adverse comments of this honourable court itself on different occasions. This is a case which is extremely politically sensitive and has caused huge embarrassment to the Central Government,” they added.

Thakurta further added that the bailout package proposed by the DoT for a few selected companies is also highly controversial.


“Even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has objected the proposed bailout package which is a rare instance. It is interesting to note that the previous Chief Vigilance Commissioner has referred the case to CBI asking for a comprehensive probe. However, the process adopted by the government in choosing P J Thomas as the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner has led to apprehensions about the 2G scam investigations.” he said.

The petitioners have also contended that the investigations into the entire criminal conspiracy have virtually been aborted. They have cited the recent transfer of Vineet Agarwal, DIG of CBI (Anti-corruption branch), who was investigating and closely pursuing the investigation, to Maharashtra on April 2, 2010 and also the transfer of Milap Jain, DG of Income Tax (Investigations), to International Taxation.

Among the grounds for interim relief claimed by the petitioners is that the entire investigation has been effectively scuttled. They said that Nira Radia, whose conversation tapes with the Telecom Minister have been available with CBI for about nine months, has not even been called for questioning. Unless the honourable court intervenes in this huge scandal, it is likely to be swept under the carpet by the Central Government. The balance of convenience is in their favour, the petitioners said.


The synopsis of the petition accepted by the Supreme Court, in part, reads: “The petitioners... filed a petition seeking a thorough court monitored investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam that has caused the national exchequer an estimated Rs 70,000 crore (Rs 700 billion) and huge national outrage. Simply in terms of the scale of money that has been swindled, it is easily the biggest scam that this country has ever seen.

“A sitting Union Cabinet minister has been found to be directly involved and tapes of his conversations with corporate middlemen are available. The entire investigation being carried out by the CBI has been scuttled to protect vested political interests, corporate and other middlemen involved. That is why to ensure people's right to life in a corruption-free environment and to enforce the rule of law, the petitioners had moved the Delhi High Court.”

The other petitioners before the SC are The Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a registered society, through its general secretary Prashant Bhushan and another registered society, Telecom Watchdog, through its secretary Anil Kumar.