2G scam: Apex court asks government for view on CAG report

October 29th, 2010 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday asked the central government to submit its response to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report pointing out irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences to telecom operators.

The court also took a dig at the Central Bureau of Investigation for taking “unduly long time” in completing its investigations.

Mocking the investigating agency that it would need ten years to complete its investigation pending with it for the last one year, the apex court bench of Justice G.S.Singhvi and Justice A.K.Ganguly asked the agency to state the time it would take to complete the investigation.

The court said it would like to hear Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium on these two points and on several other counts.

The court also said it would ask the solicitor general as to why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not responded to the representation made by Janata Party leader Subramaniam Swamy for sanction to proceed against Telecom Minister A.Raja.

Noting that his representation is pending with the prime minister for the last two years, Swamy told the court that under the provisions of law, it should not take more than three months to take a view on such matter

He said the prime minister should decide either way so that he could explore the next course of action of moving the apex court.

Earlier, when Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal told the court that the CBI would complete investigation within six months, Justice Ganguly said: “It was nearly a year since investigation was entrusted to you (CBI) and you are dragging your feet in the matter. You have done nothing about it”.

Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, said that the telecom minister has not been interrogated so far.

At this, Justice Ganguly asked if the same minister was continuing and on being told so, pulled up the government’s functioning. “Is this the way the government is functioning. Does the same minister continue? Is it rule of law?”

“You follow the same standards in respect of every one,” he said.

When the court asked why the telecom department was not replying to the queries raised by the CAG, the court was told that the difficulty was that 150 files relating to the issue were with the CBI. At this Justice Ganguly said: “If that is the stand, then it (reply) can’t be given”.

Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for Raja, said the CAG report was a draft report. “You get a wrong impression by reading the draft report of the CAG,” he said.

Prashant Bhushan, however, said that it was an open and shut case where in breach of the telecom policy, the non-telecom operators engaged in real estate business were awarded licences, which they off-loaded at seven to eight times of the price they had paid to the government.

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