Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will monitor the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam and extended the probe back up to 2001, when the BJP-led NDA was in power.
The apex court said that “serious irregularities” seemed to have been committed while granting 122 telecom licences and drew up a seven-point plan of action for the investigating agencies.
A bench, comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly, gave the CBI the liberty to register the first information report on the alleged irregularities during the BJP-led NDA regime in 2001.
The agencies will have to submit a status report in a sealed cover on February 10, 2011. The BJP responded positively to the Supreme Court direction, but seemed to be in no mood to shift from its demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the CBI had the mandate only to investigate the charges involving corruption in the scam.
He said a JPC would be able to probe why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not give sanction to prosecute then telecom minister Raja for 11 months and Raja's contention that the PM was taken into confidence while taking major decisions.
But turning down the JPC demand, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said it was only aimed at delaying the investigations into the NDA’s 2G policy since 2001.
The court also asked the income-tax department to hand over the transcripts of the scam-related phone conversations, taped on the approval of the home secretary, to the CBI.
What’s more, the agencies have to look into the telecom department’s decision to permit the use of dual or alternative technologies to a select group of service providers even before a final decision was made public on October 19, 2007.
The bench said the investigation should also ascertain why the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the department of telecom officials failed to take action against those licensees who did not fulfill their obligations.
It asked for a thorough inquiry into the huge loans granted by public sector banks “to some of the companies that had succeeded in obtaining licences in 2008.” The CBI has to find out whether DoT officers were signatories to the loan agreements.