2G Scam has Put All Other Scams to Shame: SC

New Delhi/Patna, Nov 24 (PTI): The 2G scam has put ''all other scams to shame'' the Supreme Court today said, brushing aside Centre's argument that it should not monitor the case and Subramaniam Swamy's letter to the Prime Minister cannot be treated as a complaint.

A Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly made some sharp comments while reserving its judgement on Swamy's plea for a direction to the Prime Minister to grant sanction for prosecution of former Telecom Minister A Raja in the scam.

"The Prime Minister did not take it lightly, obviously he was concerned," the Bench observed when Vahanvati repeatedly asserted that Swamy's plea was only in the form of a letter and cannot be considered as a complaint. "Your written submission never said that the petitioner did not file a proper complaint. We don't need to tell the learned Attorney General the subtle distinction," the Benh quipped.

The Bench pointed out that no such argument was taken in the affidavit filed on behalf of the Prime Minister. However, the AG stuck to his argument and said that, "I filed the affidavit on the same facts."

But the arguments failed to convince the court. "According to you it was not a complaint but a letter. Whatever, it is, it was open to the sanctioning authority to say the letter is not in proper form.

"In this case if Dr swamy's letter was not in the form of complaint you should have said it. Why shall he a file a complaint at all when the court cannot take notice of the complaint," the Bench asked.

Admitting that it was not there in the written submission, the AG said, "I apologise." "Affidavit filed on behalf of the sanctioning authority (Prime Minister) also did not say that that it was not a complaint but a letter. Otherwise, you should have filed a one-paragraph affidavit saying that the letter does not merit action as it was not in a proper complaint form," the Bench observed.

The Bench also brushed aside the CBI's plea that the apex Court should refrain from further monitoring the case as the investigation had been taken up by CBI and other agencies. "If you go into the monetary aspect. This scam will put all other scams in the country into shame,"the Bench observed.

Disagreeing with Venugopal's plea that courts should not interfere with the investigation in the case, the bench said the judiciary cannot be expected to remain silent and wondered whether people should take law into their hands for redressal of their grievances.

"When the court finds total failure of the system...., not by media perception..., who will step in? There is also widespread failure of criminal justice system. Who is responsible for it? There can be debate. Where will the people go? Should people take law into their hands?" the bench asked.

Venugopal concurred with the view and said corruption has become a way of life in the country. The bench observed, "Standards in public life have fallen. Earlier it was a solitary instance of corruption. Now it is rampant.

"It was because of persistent failure of the administrative system, courts had to intervene. People cannot be left in the lurch." The apex court also minced no words in expressing displeasure at the manner in which the cut-off date was advanced for spectrum allocation, saying the rules cannot be changed in the last minute.

"If you allot licence in 2008 at the price of 2001 and change the rule of the game in last minute.... If you revert the policy for the selected one, does this not fall under policy? Therefore here CAG is not compelling the government to change its policy", the bench shot back at Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium's argument that the CAG cannot go into policy decisions.

The bench ticked off DoT officials involved in the case for the manner in which they cleared the licenses. "If anybody disposes his personal property in 2007 at 2001 rates, would he not suffer any loss? We have seen the documents... the persons who have done it (DoT) are extremely talented. We should take our position. This is very elegantly done", the bench remarked.

The apex court while brushing aside the CBI's plea that it should not monitor the investigation directed the probe agency to submit periodic reports to it. "The CBI would submit report in a specified time to this court. This would be some kind of supervision, so that there is no derailment of justice," it said, adding it would ensure "expeditious and proper" investigation by the CBI.

Counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) urged the court to appoint a retired police or CBI official "who enjoys universal credibility" to supervise the day-to-day investigations.


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Title: 2G Scam has Put All Other Scams to Shame: SC

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