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Lalit to stay as prosecutor

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2011 00:20 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Despite the government’s objection to appoint a special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case, the Centre has decided against seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s order. Former telecom minister A Raja and eight others are accused in the case.

The government, which had opposed the name of senior advocate UU Lalit as a special prosecutor, took the no-review decision since top law ministry officials were against precipitating matters with the apex court, HT has learnt. Though Lalit has already appeared in the CBI special court on Wednesday, the government departments concerned are yet to decide on who will issue the official notification on his appointment as the main prosecutor in the high-profile case.

The law ministry has passed the buck to the department of personnel and training (DoPT) “We have nothing to do with the names of prosecutors for the CBI in courts. It is for the administrative department concerned to decide, which is the DoPT,” said a ministry official.

Asked why the ministry had issued a notification for engaging noted lawyer KK Venugopal to represent the CBI in the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum case, the official replied :“An exception was made since the investigating agency made a last minute request and it was a Supreme Court case.”

The SC had on Monday overruled the objections by the government on Lalit’s name, which was proposed by Venugopal to lead the CBI’s team of prosecutors in the special court.

The government’s team of law officers, led by the Attorney General GE Vahanvati, who is a witness in the case, had told the SC the choice of the public prosecutor exclusively rests with the government.

Vahanvati’s argument was that since the case involves money laundering also and various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act will be invoked, this law clearly gives powers to the government in the matter.

The SC rejected the argument, saying: “In the appointment of a public prosecutor, the principle of master-servant does not apply. Such an appointment is not an appointment to a civil post….It cannot be construed to mean that the public prosecutor will be holding an employment under the state.”