The CBI and Centre had a face-off in Supreme Court on Tuesday over Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy’s plea for probing the alleged role of home minister P Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum scam.
Contrary to CBI’s stand that it would not conduct a probe, as demanded by Swamy, the Centre told the SC, the agency would “naturally study” the new documents submitted by Swamy and its conclusions “may be part of its next status report.”
Swamy wants CBI to question Chidambaram as he was the finance minister when the 2G licences were allocated in January 2008 and allegedly participated in the decision.
CBI took strong objection to the government’s contention. Its counsel KK Venugopal said: “I strongly object to Union of India (UOI) putting it in its written submissions... CBI is autonomous and nobody can put words into our mouth. We are not going by this (Centre’s submissions) at all.”
This is the second instance when CBI and Centre have disagreed with each other.
Advancing its arguments against Swamy’s plea UOI had last week opposed the CBI’s stand to let SC continue monitoring the probe into the 2G scam. Rao had urged the apex court to cease its monitoring as after filing of the chragesheet the case was with the trial court.
Though CBI clarified its earlier stand, stating the court could monitor its probe into the quid pro quo part of the scam, it remained firm on not conducting any probe against Chidambaram.
Venugopal said CBI had already filed the documents produced by Swamy to the trial court alongwith the statement of RBI governor D Subba Rao. But he admitted the finance ministry’s March letter on Chidambaram’s role wasn’t part of the filed documents.
Media comes under attack
Alleged misreporting by the media once again came in for criticism in the SC after senior counsel KK Venugopal took strong exception to senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s comments on his arguments advanced on behalf of CBI before the SC in 2G case.
Venugopal said it was inappropriate for a senior politician to have said CBI counsel’s arguments were “laughable.”
Sinha’s comments were reported widely by the media. Venugopal said this wasn’t the first instance where media reporting was callous.