The Centre has appointed Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta the special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum scam, ANI reported on Saturday. He is expected to file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused by a trial court in December 2017.
Mehta was appointed to the post on Thursday, reported Bar and Bench. “The Central government hereby appoints Shri Tushar Mehta, advocate, New Delhi, as special public prosecutor for conducting prosecution, appeals/revisions or other proceedings arising out of the cases related to 2G spectrum,” read the notification.
However, the status of current special public prosecutor Anand Grover is unclear. Grover was appointed to the post by the Supreme Court in September 2014 to lead the prosecution in the 2G cases after UU Lalit was appointed a Supreme Court judge.
In December 2017, the trial court had adversely commented about Grover while passing the judgement. After the verdict, the Central Bureau of Investigation had said it would appeal against the acquittal in the High Court.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan – who in 2015 had said that the e-mails of Mehta, who was then the additional advocate general of Gujarat, showed that the Gujarat government led by Narendra Modi had colluded with 2002 riots accused – said the government’s decision is “a gross violation of the Supreme Court’s order”.
The 2G scandal is said to have originated in 2008 when the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology sold 122 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The primary allegation was that Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A Raja, who was then the Union telecom minister, chose this method to favour a few companies and received kickbacks for doing so. The Enforcement Directorate claimed that kickbacks earned from the scam were routed to the DMK-run television channel Kalaignar TV, in which party chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and wife Dayalu Ammal held 80% of the shares.
The CBI holds that Raja incurred huge losses for the state exchequer by undercharging telecom firms. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had estimated the total loss to be Rs 1.76 lakh crore.