2G: SC asks govt to appoint UU Lalit as prosecutor

The CBI has registered cases against Raja and others under various provisions of the IPC.

Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 00:27 AM IST

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

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.