2G: SC asks govt to appoint UU Lalit as prosecutor
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 00:27
  
New Delhi: Overruling Centre's objections, the Supreme Court on Monday appointed senior advocate UU Lalit as special public prosecutor for the trial in the 2G scam case holding that he was "eminently suitable" and adequately satisfied the requirement for the job.

Dismissing the Government's contention, a bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly held that the relevant provision in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act does not mean that the special prosecutor should be a lawyer in the panel of either the state or the central government.

"UU Lalit satisfies the said requirement quite adequately. Therefore, we are unable to accept the contention of the Union of India and we hold that in the interest of a fair prosecution of the case, the appointment of UU Lalit is eminently suitable," the bench said.

It directed the government to issue a notification for the appointment of Lalit for the trial in the multi-crore scam, in which former Telecom Minister A Raja, top corporate honchos, bureaucrats and telecom firms are involved.

Lalit, the court said, may choose other advocates who are already on the panel of CBI to assist him. "Considering the magnitude of the case, we are of the view that Lalit may choose two persons from the panel," the order said.

The bench directed the special court, exclusively set up for holding the trial of the 2G spectrum case, to hold day-to-day trial without any adjournment.

The court also made it clear that any objection about the appointment of Special Public Prosecutor or his assistant advocates or any prayer for staying on impeding the progress of the trial can be made only before it.

"No other court shall entertain the same. The trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis," it said, adding "all these direction are given by this court...in the interest of holding a fair prosecution of the case."

The court noted that there was unanimity among various counsel appearing in the case that Lalit "is a lawyer of unimpeachable integrity, possessing unquestionable competence and independence to conduct the prosecution in the case".

The court's order today ends the uncertainty on the issue after the Government was at odds with the CBI over the agency's decision to appoint Lalit as special public prosecutor in the case, saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task.

The Centre had raised objections on the ground that he had not worked under the state or the Union government for seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The bench, after passing the order, adjourned the matter for April 26 after the CBI informed it that supplementary charge sheet will be filed in the case by April 24 relating to bribery.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI and the ED, had submitted that Lalit had been in the lawyer's panel for the Maharashtra government and the Centre for 15 years and five years respectively and he fulfilled the criteria.

But Attorney General GE Vahanvati had submitted that being in the panel was not sufficient and one should be government's standing counsel for seven years.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 00:27


comments powered by Disqus