Khurshid remark if true, is disturbing: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong exception to law minister Salman Khurshid’s statement that putting businessmen in jail would hamper investment in the country.delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2011 00:27 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong exception to law minister Salman Khurshid’s statement that putting businessmen in jail would hamper investment in the country.
“It appears as if we are interested in keeping these businessmen behind bars. Is this news report… and what has been reported in newspapers totally correct? If it’s true, it’s disturbing,” said a bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice HL Dattu.
The bench was hearing the bail plea of 2G spectrum scam accused and Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra.
It minced no words in expressing its displeasure at Khurshid’s statement and sought a clarification from additional solicitor general and CBI counsel, Hiren Rawal. The counsel’s request he did not represent the Centre but CBI failed to pacify the judges. “To say CBI isn’t part of the government is a misnomer,” the bench retorted, adding it wanted to know if the agency’s stand had changed.
“If you lock-up businessmen, will investment come,” a national daily had on Monday reported Khurshid as having said. The judiciary needed to understand the political economy of the country, he had said.
But after the court’s outburst, Khurshid said his statement was in a different context. “The government’s stand is clear in its affidavit before the court.”
When Rawal claimed ignorance about such media reports, the court said even if CBI’s stand was akin to Khurshid’s statement, things would not affect the court proceedings.
“In the midst of a serious matter going on for a month, such a statement is made. If you have such instructions, tell us. If it is the stand of the government, it should be clarified. It will not affect us,” the bench added.
The court expressed surprise over news reports that the CBI would not oppose bail pleas of three other 2G scam accused — DMK MP Kanimozhi, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and Reliance ADAG executive Surendra Pipara. When Rawal said his instructions from the CBI were contrary to the media reports, the bench said CBI’s public relation officers must clarify it. “Isn’t it appropriate for them to contradict any misleading news item,” it asked.