Sixty-three persons, including promoters and CEOs of 10 telecom firms have come under its scanner in the 2G spectrum case, the CBI on Tuesday told the Supreme Court which expressed satisfaction over the ongoing probe.
The central government, which is also party to the case, informed a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly that it is in favour of setting up a special court to try the accused in the 2G case and the law minister has written a letter to the Delhi High Court chief justice asking him to constitute a court and identify a judge for this purpose.
"The matter is under consideration," additional solicitor general Indira Jaisingh told the bench, which wanted to know about the progress of investigation into the case.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, representing the CBI, apprised the bench about the progress by the CBI and placed the probe status report in a sealed cover.
"63 persons including promoters and CEOs of 10 companies have come under the scanner of the CBI in its probe into the 2G Spectrum scam," Venugopal said.
The bench asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to place before it their reports about the investigation by March 10 and posted the matter for further hearing on March 15.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Tata group of companies, meanwhile, pleaded for in-camera proceedings.
Earlier on February 10, while hearing a plea by Centre for Public Interest Litigation for probe into the 2G case, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI to widen its probe ambit and include into it high flying corporate honchos without getting influenced by their status.
While giving the CBI a free hand to probe the case, the court had also asked the government to set up a special court to exclusively try the spectrum scam case accused.
"We have a large number of persons who think themselves to be the law. Law must catch them. It should be done with greater expedition. Merely that they are on the Forbes list or they are millionaires does not make any difference," the bench had remarked after perusing the CBI's probe status report in which names of big corporate houses and their officials had been mentioned.
But counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner CPIL had pointed out to the court that the agencies have not questioned the heads of several companies including those of Swan Technology, which was controlled by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group, when the spectrum was allocated.
At this, the bench said, "Top authorities of companies were not questioned. It is surprising that the managing directors were not summoned".
Seeking to widen the CBI's probe ambit, the apex court had said the agency's freedom to investigate the matter should not be curtailed in any way and asked the agency to go beyond the role of the four persons, including former telecom minister A Raja, already arrested in the case.
"This investigation has led to prima-facie conclusion about the culpability of four persons. What about the beneficiaries. They are part of a larger conspiracy. We want to know about them. You (CBI) take instructions and tell us what action you are planning to take," the bench had told the CBI.