Apprehending that the telecom minister's recent criticism of CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation may influence the ongoing CBI probe, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has moved the Supreme Court seeking its direction to ensure that nothing affects the investigation.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy during a function organised to mark the birth anniversary of Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, at Parliament House in New Delhi.
"It is apprehended that this intemperate and uncalled for public attack on the CAG methodology (by the telecom minister) before the national press may prejudice the CBI investigations and cause an obstruction to justice," Swamy said in his application to the apex court.
"There is an urgency to ensure that the said CBI inquiry is carried out without interference for which purpose the monitoring was directed by this court. Nothing must permit the slightest derogation from that objective," he added.
While examining the allocation of 2G spectrum during former telecom minister A Raja's tenure, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has estimated that the public exchequer suffered a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crores.
Referring to Sibal's recent public criticism, Swamy said, "Telecom Minister has criticised the approach of the CAG in estimating the loss to the nation by illegal awarding of licences and the allocation of 2G Spectrum in a manner tantamount to ridiculing the CAG."
"He has even gone to the extent of issuing a veiled warning of a breach of secrecy on the part of the CAG, thereby intending to overawe an institution, constitutionally empowered to oversee the finances of the government," he said.
"This court has directed monitoring of the CBI probe into the criminal culpabilities in the 2G spectrum scam and has specifically directed CBI to take the CAG Report as the basis for it," said Swamy recalling the court's December 16 order.
He also objected to Sibal's statement intending that the ministry will unveil a new Telecom Policy within 100 days, besides Department of Telecom's step of imposing a penalty of Rs. 73 crores on various telecom companies for not meeting the roll-out obligations stipulated in licences.
In his petition, Swamy apprehended that such steps by the ministry and minister would compound and complicate the issue and "by the payment of such compounding fees etc, rights to regularisation may be claimed by the defaulting licensees."
"And this may lead to further losses to the public exchequer," Swamy said in his petition.
He also pleaded the court to make 11 telecom companies, which were awarded licences by telecom ministry in 2008, party to enable them to have their say in adjudication of his earlier petition for cancellation of their licences.
Swamy also sought the court's direction to make Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) a party, saying that the sectoral regulator's version would also be needed in deciding the issue of cancellation of licences.
The private telecom companies are -- Etisalat, Uninor, Loop Telecom, Videocon, S-Tel, Allianz Infra, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Dishnet Wireless and Vodafone-Essar.