Promotion for official who cleared Essar-Loop?
At a time when the debate is raging over the alleged government interference in the CBI's functioning, the law ministry has added a new twist to it by seeking a better deal for one of the agency's senior officials, previously associated with it.delhi Updated: Dec 19, 2011 23:18 IST
At a time when the debate is raging over the alleged government interference in the CBI's functioning, the law ministry has added a new twist to it by seeking a better deal for one of the agency's senior officials, previously associated with it.
The law ministry is set to seek a higher rank for the CBI's director of prosecution, Abdul Aziz, who retired in July, was "re-employed" for two years on the recommendation of the investigating agency.
Aziz has been re-employed in the rank of joint secretary, which he held at the time of his retirement. The CBI had made a recommendation to the department of personnel and training (DoPT). The case was put up before the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) which gave its nod.
However, according to law ministry sources, Aziz is eligible for the post of an additional secretary; therefore his re-employment should be in that rank.
The law ministry is now preparing a fresh note for the ACC. "He was selected for the Appellate Tribunal on Foreign Exchange Management Act to a post equivalent to that of an additional secretary," said a law ministry official.
He, however, denied that the ministry was in anyway interfering in the agency's functioning, an allegation that has been at the centre of the ongoing debate on the independence of CBI.
Interestingly, Aziz had tendered a controversial legal opinion on September 8 in the matter pertaining to Essar and Loop companies in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
He stated that "there was no misrepresentation or concealment of fact by Loop Telecom in granting the unified access service (UAS) licence". In Aziz's opinion, Loop Telecom could not be termed as associate company of the Essar group.
His opinion was overruled by CBI director AP Singh, who agreed with his investigation team that had taken a position that Loop Telecom was as associate of Essar group under 'corporate veil'.
Investigators also held that allotment of the UAS licences to Loop Telecom was in violation of the clause 8 of the UASL guidelines that prohibit an existing telecom operator for having a stake of more than 10% in any other telecom operator in the same circle.
Then the CBI director sought opinion of the attorney general who also disagreed with Aziz. The AG said in his opinion, "The director of CBI has rightly disagreed with him holding that a case of criminal conspiracy and cheating is made out after carefully analysing the material on record."