New Delhi, (IANS): The Supreme Court Monday reserved its orders on pleas seeking Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s role as the then finance minister in the 2G spectrum allocation and for the day-to-day monitoring of investigations by two independent experts.
As the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly reserved its verdict, the central government told it that applications based on incomplete information relating to investigations into the 2G case and their wide reporting by media was having a destabilising affect on the system.
Appearing for the government, senior counsel P.P. Rao told the court that the applications were being filed without complete information and the media was reporting it and “all this is destabilising the system without any justification”.
Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) counsel Prashant Bhushan objected to the government introducing the new element of “destabilisation”. The court said that Rao had talked about the “destabilisation” of the system and not of the government.
The court was told that the applications seeking monitoring of investigations on a day-to-day basis and probe into the role of Chidambaram were based on “assumptions, conjecture and wishful inferences”.
Petitioner Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy sought a CBI probe into the role of Chidambaram in deciding the 2G spectrum price along with the then communications minister A. Raja.
The CPIL sought the monitoring and supervision of the CBI probe into 2G scam by two independent experts on a day-to-day basis.
Pleading for chamber hearing on the investigations being monitored by the court, Rao said: “Open court hearing of such applications and media coverage without having access to actual contents of the progress reports submitted in sealed covers is becoming counter productive and causing irreparable loss to all the concerned and it is retarding the pace of the investigation and thereby defeating the object of the investigation.”
He said that “it would be in public interest to monitor further investigation in respect of offences not yet taken cognizance of in chambers and to allow the public servants concerned to discharge their duties unaffected by undue speculation in the media based on incomplete facts”.
Opposing the pleas by CPIL and Swamy, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the court that “no case has been made out for directing the investigation against a particular person (Chidambaram) in a particular manner”.
Venugopal told the court that “no case has been made out at all for direction to the CBI and the appointment of (independent experts for) supervision (of investigation) or designation of SIT”.
The court was told that “no case for interference (into the investigation) is made out. The CBI has shown that it has been functioning very independently”.
Venugopal told the court that investigations were on in respect of Loop Communications and into the role of former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran in the 2G scam.
“If the court were to accede to the contentions of the two applicants in regard to P. Chidambaram…, the court would be supplanting the trial court in regards to its powers…”
Rebutting the contentions by the CBI, Bhushan sought to point out holes in the CBI investigations contending that “some people who need to be charge-sheeted have not been charge-sheeted. Some who should have been investigated have not been investigated”.
He wondered why the investigating agency took five months in registering a first information report (FIR) and conducting raids against Maran’s premises.
“Why did they take five months in conducting the raids when so much dust has gathered,” he told the court all the material pointing towards Maran’s role were available five months ago.
When Bhushan told the court that the information sought by the CBI from foreign countries was available on the internet, Justice Singhvi said that “they may not be able to act on the basis of information on internet. In criminal cases, the agency does not proceed on the information available on the internet”.