New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday reserved till 7 January, 2011 its order on whether a private complaint filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking prosecution of former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum scam is maintainable.
Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah reserved his order on Swamy’s complaint after hearing arguements by him for half-an-hour.
“I am fixing the matter for pronouncement of the order on the maintainability of your private complaint on 7 January, 2011,” said additional sessions judge Chaddha after hearing the argument.
Pressing the court to act on his complaint, Swamy argued that the judge should take cognisance of the massive scam to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum to various ineligible operators.
“I have got a three-fold prayer,” said Swamy, noting that “the first one is that the court should take cognisance of my complaint against the former telecom minister and issue summons to him.
“The second prayer is that I be appointed as a deemed public prosecutor under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the investigating agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate be directed by the court to assist me in conducting prosecution and in the further investigation into the scam,” Swamy submitted.
The judge sought clarifications from him on the maintainability of his prayers in the case.
Referring to various apex court’s judgments to buttress his arguments, the Janata Party president said, “This court is empowered under the PC Act to declare me as a public prosecutor which would enable me to conduct the prosecution of the accused.”
Giving details about the scam, he said, “The offences were committed on January 11, 2008 during the commission of the act of awarding simultaneously 122 licenses to nine applicants who were able to produce demand drafts of around Rs 1650 crores within 30 minutes of opening the counter at the Sanchar Bhawan...
“This act was committed on the orders of the then minister of communication and Information Technology A Raja, accused in this complaint. This is also vividly described in the CAG report,” he contended.
Citing excerpts from the CAG report, Swamy said Raja committed fraud by doing away with the established tender process of first-come-first-served basis in alloting the spectrum to ineligible companies.
“The process was further rigged as the telecom minister altered the cut-off date for applying for the allocation of 2G spectrum. Moreover, the prices were fixed at the rate prevelant in 2001,” he said.
85 out of 122 licenses which were awarded to various companies were illegal, he said, adding that the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore has been arrived at by the CAG after computing the losses in allocation of the spectrum.
The beneficiaries, which got the spectrum at throw away prices, later sold them at the market rate and this formed a basis for computation of losses caused to the state exchequer, Swamy said.
“Nobody wants to go to the root of the case as it also jeopardised national security,” he said, adding the alleged offences were duly covered under the provisions of the PC Act.
“The first two licensees, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless, soon after sold their controlling shares to foreign companies -- Etisalat DB and Telenor -- respectively. The national security risk from these companies are highlighted by the Union Home Ministry as their connections go right into Pakistan,” Swamy alleged.
The complaint, which has been filed under section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), seeks prosecution of Raja and direction to the investigative agencies to ascertain the co-conspirators and other accused in the massive scam.
Swamy, in his argument, said that he filed a private complaint after being denied sanction by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prosecute his cabinet colleague Raja for nearly two years which resulted into an unprecedented situation with the Supreme Court asking the PM to file an affidavit on the issue, explaining his (PM) inaction on his (Swamy’s) plea.
Swamy also referred to the CBI’s communication to him, saying, “Though an FIR has been filed in the scam, no person has been named as an accused. “This is the reason which forced me to take legal recourse by filing a private complaint,” Swamy contended.
Swamy approached the CBI court following up on the Union government’s argument late last month in the Supreme Court that there was no question of granting sanction to prosecute Raja when there was no complaint filed against him in any competent court.
Attorney general G E Vahanvati had made the argument while terming Swamy’s petition to the Prime Minister for grant of sanction to prosecute Raja as “misconceived and premature”.