The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the government to appoint senior advocate UU Lalit as the special public prosecutor to conduct the trial of 2G spectrum scam before the special CBI judge.
A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice AK Ganguly dismissed government’s objections against Lalit’s appointment and gave the senior counsel the liberty to choose his team of prosecutors. The bench, however, said, he could select two advocates from team that is already working for the CBI in its panel.
"…it is clear that in larger public interest, this court, in exercise of its power under Article 136 of the Constitution has been monitoring the investigation in a most comprehensive manner. In view of those peculiar facts of this case, and various orders passed by it from time to time, this court is of the opinion that in the matter of appointment of the special public prosecutor, utmost fairness and objectivity should be observed," the bench said, adding a competent special public prosecutor is essential for a successful prosecution.
It further reiterated the trial court would hold a day-to-day hearing in the case and that any application objecting to Lalit's appointment or his assistants or impeding the progress of the trial could be made only before the Supreme Court.
The other courts have been barred from entertaining any such application. The court did not accept the Centre's contention that only the government could notify or appoint a special public prosecutor.
The bench said: “But in the peculiar facts of the case and having regard to the larger issues of public interest of transparent governance, this Court has been passing various orders for monitoring of the investigation and also by giving direction for setting up separate special courts.”
ED digging into Raja and aides’ illegal assets
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is digging deep into the moveable and immovable assets of former telecom minister A Raja and his close associates to see whether any of them were acquired with the tainted money. Once, the investigators finalise the assets as acquired through illegal mean, the ED will issue order to attach them as crime proceeds under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The affidavit on assets filed by former telecom minister before the election commission and the tax returns of his relatives and associates are being scruitinised by the investigators in this regard. Apart from Raja, tax returns of former telecom secretary Sidharth Behrua and Raja’s former private secretary RK Chandolia are also under the scanner.
Investigators hope to issue their first attachment order in the next few days. Rajesh Ahuja, N Delhi