Faced with a difficult situation in the Supreme Court for alleged inaction on the 2G spectrum scam, the government on Monday suspended the former legal adviser to the department of telecom (DoT).
Santokh Singh, an Indian Legal Services officer, who was sent back to the law ministry from the DoT last week, has now been placed under suspension. Singh, a joint-secretary level officer in the law ministry, has been suspended for “misconduct”, HT has learnt. He held the post of legal adviser DoT till last week.
The provocation for the latest action is understood to be “unauthorised” legal opinions by Singh, without keeping the law ministry and secretary informed. “Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against Singh,” said an official. This comes barely two months before he retires in January 2011.
Singh was responsible for the legal opinion provided between 2007 and now, the period during which the process for 2G spectrum allocation was completed. He was not available for comments.
The law ministry move is being seen as as an attempt to dissociate itself from controversial opinions provided by Singh over the last three years. The latest trigger appears to be the DoT’s November 11 decision to change the shareholding pattern in some companies linked to 2G spectrum allocation, based on Singh’s opinion.
Another decision which the law ministry is struggling to defend is the arbitrary change in the cut-off date for receiving applications for allocation of spectrum in January 2008. This was also based on Singh’s opinion.
The decision was struck down by the Delhi high court.
The ministry has also been groping for answers for its controversial legal opinion provided to the DoT in August, in which it had stated that the CAG and the CVC do not have the powers to look into policy decisions like the 2G spectrum allocation.