Prashant Bhushan, fighting a PIL in the 2G spectrum case, today alleged in the Supreme Court that CBI was not investigating direct involvement of Tata group and its reported quid pro quo arrangement with DMK.
Bhushan also raised questions about a senior CBI official, heading the probe into the 2G scam, joining a company associated with ICC headed by a Union minister. The counsel, appearing for the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), alleged that several issues against Tata Group including the land gifted to DMK in Chennai, which found mention in the transcript of the tapped conversation of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, has not been touched by the CBI in its probe.
"They(CBI) are acting in a manner which is not creating suspicion. If there is any deviation in the probe then we would give you opportuinity to point it out," a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said.
The bench refused the plea of Tata seeking in-camera hearing of the case. "Open media and open trial are important and we don't want to dilute it," the bench said. The court's remark came after the CPIL, on whose plea CBI inquiry was directed, said the agency has questioned the top honchos of Reliance ADAG Group and Essar but it has not investigated direct involvement of Tata Group in the case and its quid pro quo arrangement with DMK.
Bhushan said Y P Singh, the officer of the rank of Jt Director in CBI, who was investigating the case, has recently sought voluntary retirement to join a private company associated with ICC's anti-corruption unit.
"This is a disturbing thing that an officer of Joint Director level, who was heading the team of investigation, has taken retirement to join a company associated with ICC which is being headed by a minister in the government.
The company is the one which had received Rs 100 crore from Sahid Usman Balwa who is one of the accused in the scam," Bhushan said. The CBI, however, objected to the statement of Bhushan and said that such remarks should not be made orally and it had to file an affidavit so that it could be countered by it. CEOs and promotors of ten companies are among 63 persons who have come under the scanner for their alleged involvement in the 2G scam, the agency told the court.
The court allayed apprehension of the petitioners that the alleged involvement of Tata Group in the 2G scam was not probed properly. The court said the CBI report has "indicated" about the probe into the allegation made by the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) against Tata's.
"The case is progressing in the right direction. Prima facie there is no fault in its investigation. We are quite conscious that CBI must probe every aspect of the case. It is indicated in the report and the report has taken care of your concern," the bench said. At the outset, senior advocate K K Venugopal placed the CBI report in a sealed cover on the progress of the probe and various steps taken by the agency. In an apparent reference to former telecom Minister A Raja, who is in jail in connection with the scam, Venugopal said that in the list of 63, item number 20 is the name of an MP.