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CBI denies any attempt to derail judicial process in 2G scam



New Delhi: Under attack from some NGOs that it was allegedly stalling probe in the 2G scam, the CBI on Wednesday said there was no attempt to put any impediment in the judicial process and claimed that facts in the case were being twisted before the Supreme Court. 

As CBI finalises its position to be taken in the Apex court, agency sources said it has already acted promptly on the August 12 directions of the apex court and handed over all relevant documents and records to senior counsel K K Venugopal, who is appearing for the agency, to present its case in the next hearing.

This included a suggestion by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha in which he had pointed out about not taking on record an opinion of law and justice ministry which had claimed that there was no case made out against Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL). 

Citing one instance where the CBI was accused of delaying investigations, the sources claimed that the apex court had been misled about CBI's Deputy Inspector General Santosh Rastogi being a part of the team probing the 2G scam and that he had been transferred for not toeing the line of his superiors.

In its reply, the CBI will inform that Supreme Court that Rastogi, a 1998 Maharashtra cadre officer, was never a member of the probe team and that he had volunteered himself for a transfer to another department four months ago.  The CBI will also inform the apex court that Rastogi, in an alleged act of "insubordination", had recused himself from probing the Tata-Unitech deal despite clear orders from the Director CBI to do so.

CBI has already registered a preliminary enquiry in the matter and also sought a report of Serious Fraud Investigating Office under Ministry of Corporate Affairs which had claimed that Unitech was a front company for the Tata group in securing 2G spectrum licence.

However, in compliance of the Supreme Court order, the transfer of Rastogi had been cancelled and he continues to function in his earlier capacity, the sources said.

The Supreme Court will be briefed about the probe being conducted by the CBI to investigate alleged link between Tata Group and Unitech for securing 2G spectrum license, the sources said.

About the PIL filed in Supreme Court on Tuesday claiming that the "Director has made serious attempts to derail the investigation and prosecution being carried out by the CBI", the CBI said the same petitioner had filed a similar plea in the Delhi High Court.

The CBI claimed that frequent pleas in various courts was further delaying the trial.

About the CBI Director submitting his opinion to the then counsel U U Lalit, the sources said this was in response to a petition filed by Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL) seeking quashing of FIR filed by the agency against it. 

The CBI director did not act suo motu and he rather was asked to give his opinion in the matter which he did after perusing the entire case records, the sources said. 

The opinion of the director had been sent to the then CBI counsel Lalit, who was later elevated as Supreme Court judge, the sources said. Lalit had, however, rejected the opinion.  Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO, claimed that the CBI director was attempting to reopen the whole probe on the premise that the charge sheet was based on a wrong premise.

Bhushan said that the charge sheet was filed on the premise that since RTL was not eligible for the 2G licences, it created Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd as its front company to secure the radio waves while violating the clause of Unified Access Service Licences (UASL) guidelines.  However, now it reportedly appears that the director is of the view that on the day of award of licences, RTL had given up the ownership of Swan Telecom, Bhushan said.

The CBI, however, said that the opinion of the director was based on the note from the law ministry which had suggested that no case was made out against RTL.


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