Published On: Wed, Jun 27th, 2018

SC nod to probe ED officer investigating 2G case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the government to investigate allegations against senior Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer Rajeshwar Singh who is probing the high profile 2G and Aircel-Maxis cases.

The court said it was up to the government to take a call whether Singh was further required in the trial or investigation

Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram are being probed for alleged irregularities and graft in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in Aircel-Maxis case.

The allegations against ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh, who is heading the ED probe in 2G cases, were mentioned in a report submitted to the top court in a sealed envelope on Wednesday.

A vacation bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also modified their March 16, 2011 order which said that “no one including the newspapers shall interfere with the functioning of the CBI team and the officers of the Enforcement Directorate who are investigating” and it would take “serious cognizance of any endeavour made by any person or group of persons” to interfere with the CBI and the ED probe into the 2G scam cases.

Taking note that the charge-sheet has already been filed in the Aircel-Maxis case, the court on Wednesday said it was up to the government to take a call whether Singh was further required in the trial or investigation of the 2G and Aircel-Maxis cases.

However, it clear that it has not expressed any opinion on the material placed before it.

At the outset of hearing in the pre-lunch session, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee handed over to the bench a report in a sealed cover levelling “serious allegation” against Rajeshwar Singh that have a bearing on national security.

“We (top court) want to investigate but order comes in the way … sensitive information about national security,” said Banerjee

In the course of hearing, the bench also described the contents of the report as “highly sensitive”.

Stating, “we can’t divulge” the report, the bench said: “The thing that have come (to our knowledge) is startling. Even in imagination we could not have thought of it.”

As senior counsel Rupinder Singh Suri appearing for Rajeshwar Singh and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told the bench that they were not aware of what had been handed over to the court, the bench said: “Too much damage have been caused. When appropriate time comes, we will put everything on record.”

As the bench said a person, who is investigating sensitive 2G spectrum case, should not be brought under cloud, Swamy said: “Nor should any cloud be created to make him move out.”

Swamy urged the court to call for a report from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director and the ED about the allegations against Rajeshwar Singh.

Observing that it could not shut its eyes to all this, the bench said: “Something is very serious. It may be correct or it may not be correct.”

“You seem to say that as he has been promoted, these allegations would not have been there,” Justice Mishra said as Swamy pointed out that full evaluation of Rajeshwar Singh was done by all the agencies when he was promoted from Deputy Director to Joint Director.

Even as senior counsel Suri and Swamy defended Rajeshwar Singh suggesting that the reports submitted to the court could be motivated, Justice Mishra said: “As a matter of fact, any allegation has to be investigated. At the same time, you must not be victimised.”

“You are simply an officer. You can’t be given a blank chit. You are accountable for every action of yours. You must be accountable,” said the bench as Suri and Swamy drew the attention of the court towards the earlier order of the court protecting Rajeshwar Singh.

Suri also asked the bench to permit the ED officer to appear before them in chamber to answer to the allegations contained in the report given to the court in the sealed cover.

He also told the court to call for the report of the CBI Director, ED and the RAW on the allegations mentioned in the sealed cover but the court was unmoved.

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