The apex court was informed by CBI counsel and senior advocate K K Venugopal that the agency will take two months to complete the investigation and in another one month, it will arrive at a conclusion and file the chargesheet.
DMK leader A Raja had resigned as Telecom Minister earlier this month in the wake of the spectrum scam.
“We are investigating the offences and for each charge there has to be evidence and documents. The CAG report is about financial impropriety and not a criminal act,” Venugopal told a bench of justice G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly, adding that only after the probe it could be said whether “we have done our work properly or not.”
He said that the CBI will take two months time to finish the investigation as it was examining transcripts relating to 5,000 calls (out of which 3,800 have been analysed), 6,000 files and 80,000 pages of documents.
All these are being scrutinized, the senior advocate, who is representing the CBI from today, said.
He further said since the matter was being examined by the CBI, the apex court should not go into the merits of the case.
Venugopal said that the NGO, Central for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), the main petitioner in the case, has sought monitoring of the investigation by the apex court.
Venugopal said he would like to place two positions in law about the monitoring of the investigation by the court and this he would do by placing 15 or 16 judgements before it.
“Their is no need to go into the merits of the investigation. I will place judgements so that you (court) can proceed in the case whether the monitoring is mandatory or not,” he said.
In the course of the arguments, the bench said, “We are also conscious of the scope of judicial limitations but we always decide after hearing arguments. We have so far taken note of this fact.”
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CPIL, maintained that the court can go into the nature of the investigation as 13 months has lapsed since the registration of the FIR.
The issue involved “whether the investigation is credible or not and why FIR was registered in October 2009 when a specific and not vague complaint was filed by Subramanian Swamy for the sanction to prosecute Raja,” he submitted.
Further, on 9th May 2009, one Arun Agarwal had filed a complaint regarding Swan Technology owned by Reliance Infocomm, the shares of which was transferred to unknown entity, he said.
Bhushan said it has to be found out what happened after the registration of the case by the CBI as the agency has written a letter to the Income Tax Department following which the transcript of the alleged conversation between various persons including corporate lobbyist Nira Radia and others including Raja’s private secretary R K Chandolia surfaced.
Materials are enough to charge Raja and others with criminal misconduct and abuse of official position which has been established by the CAG report, Bhushan said.
Bhushan said that the CAG report has clearly established that in 2008, 122 spectrum licences were given to 16 companies at the 2001 price level without following the policy of public auction.
“This is done despite repeated objection and despite the advice of the Law Ministry, Finance Secretary and Telecom Secretary,” Bhushan said, adding that the Law Ministry even stated the matter has to be considered by the EGOM.
He further said that the cut-off date for applying for spectrum was considered retrospectively to eliminate two-third of the applicants out of the 575.
The cut-off dates were brought down from 1st October 2007 to 27th September.
“This decision was taken on September 24, 2007 and a press release was issued on this,” he said, contending that between 24th and 25th September, in one day another hundred odd applications came.
He submitted that on 10th January 2008, another press release was issued saying that the Telecom Department will process the applications received till 25th September 2007.
The Ministry was asking those applicants to collect letter of intent who had filed the applications till 25th Sep 2007.
The court adjoured the hearing for Tuesday.
Bhushan submitted since there was limited spectrum to be allocated in 16 regions, Raja was looking for a methodology to distribute it as it could not have been possible had he considered 575 applications.
Raja, however, evolved the methodology with a malafide and advanced the cut-off date for considering the applications, said Bhushan, adding that this resulted in elimination of 343 out of 575 applicants.
He said this issue was also raised in the Delhi High Court where a single-judge bench quashed the decision of the Department of Telecom terming it as arbitrary and malafide.
The single bench order was upheld by a division bench.