The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to complete their investigation of the 2G spectrum allocation cases and other related matters, including the Aircel-Maxis deal, in six months, PTI reported.
The investigation has been going on for a long time and people cannot be kept in the dark in a sensitive matter such as this, the bench of Justices Arun Misra and Naveen Sinha noted. “It is shocking, all matters should see end of the day,” Misra said. The bench instructed the Centre to file a status report within two weeks.
Senior advocate Anand Grover, who was appointed the special public prosecutor in this case in 2014, was relieved of his duties. The court dismissed the Centre for Public Interest Litigation’s plea challenging the government’s decision to appoint Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in Grover’s place. Since the trial was over, the government is free to appoint any lawyer it wants to as the special public prosecutor, the court said.
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 had argued before the court that Raja’s decision to undercharge telecom firms caused the state exchequer to lose a lot of money. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had estimated the total loss to be Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
A special court in Delhi acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation cases in December 2017. In his judgment, Special Judge OP Saini had criticised the CBI for “misreading” the case.