New Delhi, Oct 5: After Delhi High Court began the day-to-day proceedings in the 2G spectrum case on Monday, one of the accused, Asif Balwa, who was acquitted by the trial court, questioned the appearance of Addditional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Balwa filed an application seeking a copy of the direction by the Central government given under Section 378 (2) of the CrPC. Balwa in his plea moved through advocate Vijay Aggarwal sought a copy of the government’s sanction letter, which granted approval to the CBI to file an appeal against the acquittal of all the accused in the 2G spectrum case.
The arguments on the same were addressed by Aggarwal before a single judge bench of the high court comprising Justice Brijesh Sethi, who last week ordered day-to-day proceeding in the matter.
Aggarwal pointed out that the appeal has been filed under the signature of advocate Sanjeev Bhandari under the stamp of special public prosecutor. However, in the 2G case, the special public prosecutor is appointed by way of a specific notification.
Aggarwal apprised the bench that earlier a notification was issued for the trial, which was superseded and a fresh notification was issued in February 2018 by which Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was to act as the special public prosecutor in this case.
It was further argued that keeping in view the same notification, the appeal filed by the CBI was without any authority and that the CBI ought to clarify the same before the court. Aggarwal also argued that the entire appeal will fail in the absence of the said mandatory approval under Section 378 (2) of CrPC.
Opposing Aggarwal’s submissions, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who is representing the CBI, argued that the particular aspect regarding authority is merely in the nature of housekeeping and the same can be produced before the court in a ‘sealed cover’ if so required.
Aggarwal strongly opposed the submissions regarding the ‘sealed cover’ and said that the said issue of authority goes to the root of the said matter and is a jurisdictional issue.
“When a law or statue requires a thing to be done in a particular manner, it should be done in that manner only,” said Aggarwal.
His arguments were also supported by senior advocates appearing for other parties, Siddharth Luthra and N. Hariharan.
ASG Jain sought time till Tuesday to seek instructions on the issue of sanction. The court will now be taking up the tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the court also allowed accused Sanjay Chandra to hold a legal meeting with the lawyers to prepare for the on-going hearing, for which it directed the superintendent of Tihar Jail to arrange for an hour long video conference between Chandra and his lawyers three times in a week.
Last week, the high court had directed that it will hear on day-to-day basis the appeals filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI against the acquittal of the accused persons in the 2G case.
The scam came to light almost seven years ago when the Comptroller and Auditor General in a report held then Telecom Minister A. Raja responsible for causing the state exchequer a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore by allocating 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices.
However, the trial court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. The verdict, however, doesn’t override the Supreme Court judgement or take away from the fact that the licences issued during 2G spectrum allocation were illegal.