SC for day-to-day trial in the 2G spectrum case

The Supreme Court Friday said it will direct the special court, set up exclusively for trying various 2G spectrum scam accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja, to hold day-to-day trial without any adjournment.

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 16:42 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday said it
will direct the special court, set up exclusively for trying
various 2G spectrum scam accused, including former Telecom
Minister A Raja, to hold day-to-day trial without any
adjournment.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said
it will pass a formal order on this issue on April 11, when,
it indicated, it will also appoint senior advocate U U Lalit
as a special public prosecutor to assist the court in holding
the trial in the spectrum allocation case.

The bench indicated its preference for appointing
Lalit as SPP, brushing aside the Centre`s objections to his
appointment.

The bench also said it will restrain all other courts
from entertaining any application or petition linked to the
case and all such pleas will have to be filed in the apex
court only.

The court adjourned the matter to April 11 to pass the
order after the Centre failed to propose any name for the
appointment of the SPP.

The bench also directed the Central Bureau of
Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to brief it
about their second stage of probe into the scam after
the filing of the CBI chargesheet in the case on April 2 in
the special court.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for CBI and
ED, submitted that the second charge sheet regarding bribery
angle in the scam will be filed before April 24.

The bench also said that it will pass order giving
liberty to the SPP in the case to suggest names of other
prosecutors to assist him in the trial.

Government has been at loggerheads with the CBI in the
apex court over the agency`s decision to appoint Lalit as
special public prosecutor, saying he did not meet the
eligibility criteria for the task.

It has raised technical objections to Lalit`s
appointment saying that he should have worked under
the state or the Union government for at least seven years to
be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of
the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Senior Advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI,
had submitted that Lalit had been in the lawyer`s panel for
the Maharastra government and the Centre for 15 years and five
years respectively and he fulfils the criteria.

But the Attorney General G E Vahanvati on Thursday had
submitted that being in the panel is not sufficient and one
should be the government`s standing counsel for seven years.

The court had said that the Act does not mention the
word "Standing counsel" and the objection raised was highly
technical which should be given "reasonable" interpretation.

Vahanvati had said there were some apprehensions that
Lalit`s appointment as the SPP could be challenged at any
stage and it may derail the entire prosecution of the case.

The CBI has registered cases against former Telecom
Minister A Raja and others under various provisions of the
Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the
Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The CBI had on April 1 informed the apex court that
Lalit will be appointed as special public prosecutor for
assisting the special court, set up for the exclusive trial of
the 2G spectrum case.

Venugopal had told the court that the agency had been
facing lot of difficulties in finalising the name of special
public prosecutor to lead a team of its prosecutors in
assisting the special court for trial of the 2G case as most
of the senior counsel have been hired by one or the other
party.

Maintaining that in the given circumstances, Lalit was
the best choice as CBI`s special public prosecutor, Venugopal
had pointed out that he had a vast experience in various
criminal laws.
The agency in its first charge sheet alleged that
Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja`s
personal secretary R K Chandolia, Shahid Usman Balwa and
Sanjay Chandra entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the
procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring
companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.

Others named in the charge sheet include Vinod Goenka,
a Director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the
promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director
of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech
Wireless(Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and
Surendra Pipara, Group Managing Director and two Senior Vice
Presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.

PTI