Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the CBI, asking why it hadn’t questioned former telecom minister A Raja despite the comptroller and auditor general’s report indicting him in the 2G spectrum scam.
Asking the agency not to “beat around the bush”, the court said the CAG report was replete with references to Raja’s role and yet the CBI had registered an FIR against “unknown persons”.
“The CAG was set up under the Constitution. Any responsible person will question the involvement of the minister... and you say 8,000 documents have to be examined. You’re beating around the bush. It was the minimum expected of the CBI.” This was the court’s response to CBI counsel KK Venugopal, when he objected to the petitioner’s counsel, Prashant Bhushan, reading out the CAG report, saying it was not part of court records but a new document.
The Supreme Court also asked why the agency hadn't registered a case against Swan Telecom and Unitech, two alleged beneficiaries of the 2008 2G spectrum sale that the CAG has said caused a loss of R1.76 lakh crore.
"You haven't even questioned the officials of Swan Telecom and Unitech," it said.
On the charge that Raja allegedly ignored the advice of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and law ministry on the spectrum sale, the court said:
"When the Prime Minister writes to a minister about changing a policy, can the minister write back and say no?" Going through Raja's letters to the Prime Minister, in which the former claimed the advice could lead to litigation, the court asked:
"Why was there reluctance to follow the law ministry's opinion? The minister should understand that judicial review is part of democracy and going to litigation is not a crime."