2G scam: NGO for monitoring of probe by experts

An NGO stressed in the Supreme Court the need for setting up of a committee of experts for effective monitoring of the probe in the 2G scam case.

Updated: Sep 28, 2011, 20:21 PM IST

New Delhi: An NGO, which alleged that the
CBI investigation in the 2G spectrum scam was "less than
honest" as it was not probing many high-profile persons
including Home Minister P Chidambaram, on Wednesday stressed in the
Supreme Court the need for setting up of a committee of
experts for effective monitoring of the probe in the case.

"In order to assist the court it is imperative and
essential to entrust the matter to at least two persons of
eminence for monitoring the probe," advocate Prashant Bhushan,
appearing for the NGO, Cemtre for Public Interest Litigation
(CPIL), submitted before a bench of justice G S Singhvi and A
K Ganguly.
The NGO expressed apprehension of the case collapsing in
the trial court on the ground that CBI investigation was "less
than honest" like the Hawala case of 1996 involving high
profile persons.

Bhushan said several aspects of the 2G scam have not been
touched by the CBI including the assets of persons mentioned
in the diary recovered from former telecom minister A Raja.

He also contested the submission of the CBI and the
Centre that monitoring comes to an end with the completion of
the probe and filing of the charge sheet by giving example of
various cases including the Gujarat riot cases, saying the
apex court appointed the Special Investigating Team (SIT)
after the charge sheets were filed in most of the cases.

Bhushan said the CBI probe has to be more independent and
should be monitored by a committee like SIT because most of
the top officers in the agency are IPS and the Home Ministry
is their cadre-controlling authority.
Bhushan said, "The person (Chidambaram) who gave
permission has not been quizzed so far because the
cadre-controlling authority of the top CBI officers who are
IPS officers is the Home Ministry. Reluctance to probe Home
Minister is not surprising."

The CPIL alleged CBI has also not chargesheeted Attorney
General G E Vahanvati, who as the then Solicitor General, gave
opinion to Raja on the issue of licences for the 2G spectrum.

However, the bench shot back saying "if any opinion is
given by a lawyer, can he be held liable. Nobody will give
opinion in such case".

Vahanvati, who has been made a witness in the case, has
denied all allegations against him.

CBI during the early hearings had opposed the plea for
constituting the committee or setting up of SIT with its
counsel and senior advocate K K Venugopal saying "it is not
possible".

Venugopal had said a strange procedure was being sought
to be followed after charge sheets have already been filed in
the case.

The NGO alleged CBI was not doing a fair and impartial
investigation irrespective of the status of the person sought
to be investigated, as was directed by apex court by its
December 16, 2010 order.

PTI