The CBI Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that
the trial court verdict acquitting all accused including former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation cases was decided to be challenged as an opinion was received that it is a fit case to prefer an appeal.
The agency said that the opinion was received from the Ministry of Law and Justice which examined the proposal of the probe agency to file a criminal appeal.
The CBI said that it was apprised through a letter by the Department of Personnel and Training in January 2018 that the law and justice ministry opined that it is a fit case to prefer an appeal.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the CBI and ED, submitted before Justice Brijesh Sethi that this letter was sent as a direction to the CBI to go and file an appeal.
In this case, an opinion was formed by the Central government and the appeal was filed, Jain said.
The relevant documents were showed to the judge who was hearing the matter through video conferencing.
The documents were showed and submissions were made by the ASG in response to the application by Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd promoter Asif Balwa seeking a copy of the sanction letter of the central government to the CBI to file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused in the case.
Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain and Ashul Aggarwal, representing Asif, said they will examine the documents given by the CBI and respond.
Besides this, Aggarwal has earlier argued that the CBI has not placed on record the mandatory authority under the provisions of the CrPC and added that the appeal was filed under the signatures of advocate Sanjeev Bhandari with a stamp of SPP (Special Public Prosecutor).
In 2G cases, the SPP is appointed by way of a specific notification. An earlier notification was issued for the trial, which was superseded by a February 2018 notification appointing Tushar Mehta (now Solicitor General) to act as SPP. The notification was specific to the 2G cases and therefore, the appeal filed itself was without any authority and the CBI ought to clarify the same before the court, he had contended.
Responding to this, on Tuesday the ASG showed documents to the court relating to appointment of Bhandari as SPP in Delhi High Court for conducting prosecution, appeals, revision of other matters arising out of cases invested by the CBI.
He also referred to the February 2018 notification by which the then ASG Tushar Mehta was appointed as SPP for conducting appeals, revisions and other proceedings before the high court and Supreme Court in the cases relating to 2G spectrum.
Jain further showed to the court the administrative order by which he was appointed as SPP to conduct the prosecution, appeals and revisions arising out of the cases related to 2G spectrum.
Although Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was appointed as SPP, it does not mean only he will come and file the appeal. As per rules, there are some restrictions on a designated senior advocate who shall not file a vakalatnama or act in any court or tribunal.
Merely because solicitor general Mehta was designated as SPP does not mean that he can do something that he, in his capacity as a senior advocate, cannot do, the ASG contended.
He said the CBI got the draft vetted from Mehta and Bhandari filed the appeal before the high court.
He further said when Justice U U Lalit was SPP in the 2G case, some pleadings were filed by him and it was his discretion and he was a special appointee of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court did not appoint Mehta. He was appointed by the government, so it is for him to decide whether he wants to do filing himself or through someone else. In this case, he decided Bhandari to do so, Jain submitted.
The high court asked Jain to place these documents on record and listed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
The high court on Monday had asked Jain to clarify whether there was any notification issued by the government appointing him as a prosecutor to argue the CBI and ED appeals in the 2G case.
The high court has commenced day-to-day hearing on CBI's leave to appeal' against the acquittal of all the individuals and firms. After finishing submissions in the CBI case, the high court will take up the ED's money laundering case in which also all the accused were acquitted by the special court.
Leave to appeal is a formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court.
A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and the ED cases related to the scam.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura; Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia; Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the 2G case filed by the CBI.
Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal were also acquitted in the CBI case.
The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (P) Ltd; Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd; Reliance Telecom Ltd; film producer Karim Morani and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.
In March 2018, the ED and CBI had approached the high court challenging the special court's order acquitting all the accused.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)