|New 2G woes|
|Thursday, 07 April 2011 00:00|
If it wasn’t bad enough that it took the Supreme Court to get the CBI to start seriously investigating the A Raja case after a year of doing nothing, the CBI filed a very weak chargesheet. And if that wasn’t bad enough, you now have a case where there is a fight between the CBI and law ministry on who should fight the case in the trial court. Mind you, this is after the CBI let it be known that all top lawyers had been snapped up by either the accused and various telecom firms that were implicated, or thought they would be implicated, in the case. Nor is UU Lalit, the man the CBI counsel told the Court it had finally zeroed in on, a run-of-the-mill lawyer. Under the court system, if a court thinks a lawyer is good, it designates him/her as ‘senior advocate’, and Lalit has been designated ‘senior advocate’ by the Supreme Court itself. Indeed, after Attorney General GE Vahanvati objected to Lalit’s appointment under Section 46(2) of the Money Laundering Act—Vahanvati said the accused could challenge Lalit’s appointment because he had not worked for seven years under the Union of India!—the Court told Vahanvati that his objection seemed very technical; the judges also remarked that the “public prosecutor should not be under the thumb of the Union of India”.
It is curious the government should behave in the manner it has, since it has already got so much flak in the matter, including the long delay in the investigations. First, senior politicians, including the telecom minister, repeatedly ran down the CAG report and said its calculations on the revenue losses were vastly exaggerated—the telecom minister even argued the losses were zero. The fact that the CBI’s chargesheet did not show evidence of the money trail linking Swan’s Shahid Balwa to the DMK’s Kalaignar TV also seemed to suggest the CBI was under pressure to go slow until the elections in the state were over. Equally curious was the decision to continue with Vahanvati on the 2G case when there was enough evidence to show that, as Solicitor General, Vahanvati had cleared the controversial change in the First Come First Served norms that is at the centre of the scam that A Raja pulled off. Hopefully, by the time the government gets back to the Court on this, within a week’s time, it will realise its folly and withdraw its objection to Lalit.
Caesar’s wife, the PM is fond of saying, has to be seen to be above suspicion—in a similar vein, the government has to be seen to be giving the CBI a free hand.