"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Once More the Court has Taken the Rein of Investigation

The SC has given a 7 point direction in the PIL filed on the 2G spectrum issue. (Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. The Union of India, Arising out of SLP (C) No. 24873 of 2010. Decided on 16/12/10)

SC though rejected the plea of instituting a Special Investigating Team, ordered the continuation investigation by CBI and Enforcement, monitored by the court. iI followed the Vineet Narain line and directed the investigation agencies to file periodic report on the investigation directly to the court.

The directions of the court is reproduced below

  1. The CBI shall conduct thorough investigation into various issues highlighted in the report of the Central Vigilance Commission, which was forwarded to the Director, CBI vide letter dated 12.10.2009 and the report of the CAG, who have prima facie found serious irregularities in the grant of licenses to 122 applicants, majority of whom are said to be ineligible, the blatant violation of the terms and conditions of licences and huge loss to the public exchequer running into several thousand crores. The CBI should also probe how licences were granted to large number of ineligible applicants and who was responsible for the same and why the TRAI and the DoT did not take action against those licensees who sold their stakes/equities for many thousand crores and also against those who failed to fulfill rollout obligations and comply with other conditions of licence.
  2. The CBI shall conduct the investigation without being influenced by any functionary, agency or instrumentality of the State and irrespective of the position, rank or status of the person to be investigated/probed.
  3. The CBI shall, if it has already not registered first information report in the context of the alleged irregularities committed in the grant of licences from 2001 to 2006-2007, now register a case and conduct thorough investigation with particular emphasis on the loss caused to the public exchequer and corresponding gain to the licensees/service providers and also on the issue of allowing use of dual/alternate technology by some service providers even before the decision was made public vide press release dated 19.10.2007.
  4. The CBI shall also make investigation into the allegation of grant of huge loans by the public sector and other banks to some of the companies which have succeeded in obtaining licences in 2008 and find out whether the officers of the DoT were signatories to the loan agreement executed by the private companies and if so, why and with whose permission they did so.
  5. The Directorate of Enforcement / concerned agencies of the Income Tax Department shall continue their investigation without any hindrance or interference by any one.
  6. Both the agencies, i.e., the CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement shall share information with each other and ensure that the investigation is not hampered in any manner whatsoever.
  7. The Director General, Income Tax (Investigation) shall, after completion of analysis of the transcripts of the recording made pursuant to the approval accorded by the Home Secretary Government of India, hand over the same to CBI to facilitate further investigation into the FIR already registered or which may be registered hereinafter.

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