The government was on the backfoot in the 2G spectrum case as the Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed displeasure against the attorney general for arguing "facts" that were not part of the PMO's affidavit.
The court got irked when attorney general GE Vahanvati said Subramanium Swamy's letter to the PMO could not be treated as a complaint.
On Tuesday, he had proceeded with the legal argument that sanction was not required for filing a criminal complaint against ex-telecom minister A Raja. Vahanvati claimed sanction was a prerequisite before the court took cognizance of the complaint.
Vahanvati referred to Swamy's communiqué to the PMO as a letter after the bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly read out s Supreme Court judgment that sanction was required before prosecuting a sitting minister. He said Swamy's letter was not comprehensive and had simply asked the PMO to get the alleged scam probed.
At this, the bench said: "Your written submissions never said the petitioner did not file a proper complaint. We don't need to tell the learned AG the subtle distinction." It also pointed out that no such fact was mentioned in the affidavit as well.
Vahanvati responded by saying the affidavit presented the facts of the case. His argument, however, failed to convince the court, which added: "You could have simply said this in one paragraph of the affidavit. Whatever, it is, it was open to the sanctioning authority (PMO) to inform the petitioner that the letter was not a proper form of complaint and, therefore, did not require any response."
Admitting that it was not there in the written submission, Vahanvati apologised. "You can't carry coal to the new castle. We cannot cite law to the AG. He is here to enlighten us," the bench said while reserving its orders on Swamy's plea seeking direction to the Prime Minister to grant sanction for Raja's prosecution.