New Delhi: An affidavit on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday which rejected the charge of inaction on the part of his office in dealing with the request of sanction for prosecution of former Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum issue.
In an 11-page affidavit, filed through Director, PMO, V Vidyawati, it was stated that there was no inaction on the part of the PMO on the complaint filed by Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy seeking the sanction for prosecution of Raja.
The affidavit has given in detail how various letters written by Swamy since November 29, 2008 to October 5, 2010 have been dealt with by the Prime Minister`s office and advice sought from the Law Ministry.
The Director, who filed the affidavit on behalf of the Prime Minister, said she prepared a note on February 9, 2010 stating that "according to the advice received from the Department of Legal affairs, the decision of granting sanction for prosecution may be determined only after the perusal of the evidence (oral or documentary) collected by the investigating agency, ie CBI and other materials to be provided by the competent authorities.
"On this note, the Joint Secretary suggested that Ministry of Law and Justice could be requested to send an appropriate response to the petitioner Swamy. This was approved by the Prime Minister on February 13, 2010."
The view of the Joint Secretary was endorsed by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the affidavit said adding that the Law Ministry on February 22, 2010 stated that since it was only an advisory body to tender a legal advice they were not administratively concerned with the accord of sanction.
"It was suggested that Department Of Personnel and Training, which is administratively concerned with the matter, be requested to send a reply to Swamy," the Director said and elaborated that she prepared a note in this regard on March 5, 2010 for the DoPT which was "considered at various levels and approved".
The affidavit said that based on Swamy`s March 8, 2010 letter, a request was made to the Secretary DoPT and the Department of Telecommunication to immediately give the status of the communication from the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and
registration of the case by the CBI.
The note on the response of DoT and DoPT was duly considered and approved by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, the affidavit said adding that PMO asked the DoPT to send an appropriate reply to Swamy which was done on March 19, 2010.
Subsequently in April 2010, the Department of Legal Affairs informed that Swamy has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court and written letter to DoPT with a copy to Prime Minister on March 20, 2010, and later on May 20, June 9, August 30 and October 5 wrote letters addressed to Singh which were sent to Ministry of Law and Justice.
The affidavit said that on February 8, 2010 the PMO received advice from Law Ministry, duly approved by the Minister of Law on January 26, 2010 in which it was stated that "decision to accord sanction of prosecution may be determined only after the perusal of the evidence (oral or documentary) collected by the investigating agency i.e. CBI
and other materials to be provided by the competent
It said that the Private Secretary to the Prime Minister had raised a query regarding the exact point on which the opinion of the Law Ministry was proposed to be sought after a complaint similar to Swamy was forwarded to the PMO from the President Secretariat on April 30, 2009.
"This was dealt with by a note dated May 20, 2009 prepared by the Secretary to the PM and it was clarified that the opinion of the Ministry of Law proposed to be sought was to whether there was any ground at all for considering such a request.
"It was pointed out that in earlier cases where sanction was sought to prosecute a Minister, a decision was taken after obtaining the advise of the Ministry of Law and Justice. This note was placed before the PM.
"Thereafter, the matter was discussed with the Principal Secretary. Accordingly, this matter was referred to the Department of Legal Affairs on May 29, 2009 for their advice," the affidavit said.
The affidavit said that in response to PMO`s May 29, 2009 letter, the Department of Legal Affairs stated on June 8, 2009 stated that they had called for "input/views from the Ministry of Telecommunication enable them to examine the matter in the right perspective."
It said since the reply from the Department of Legal Affairs was awaited, it was proposed that "issues raised by Swamy be examined on the sectoral side" which was considered at "various levels and approved."
Swamy`s letters received on October 23 and 31, 2009 were discussed with the PM who stated that the Ministry of Law should examine and advice.