Stung by the acquittal of former telecom minister A Raja and others accused in the 2G case, the CBI, unwilling to take chances with the appeal it has decided to file against the trial court’s order, has brought in additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta as the special public prosecutor (SPP).
Sources in the CBI told TOI that the joint director in-charge of the 2G scam probe, along with other investigators, met Mehta on Monday to fast-track the appeal process. Though the case will be formally handed over to the law officer only after the grounds of appeal in the politically sensitive case are worked out, sources said the CBI did not intend to consult the SC-appointed special public prosecutor Anand Grover any more.
The central government appointed Mehta as SPP in the 2G case through a notification on February 8. “The central government hereby appoints Shri Tushar Mehta, advocate, New Delhi, as special public prosecutor for conducting prosecution, appeals/revisions or other proceedings arising out of the cases related to 2G spectrum,” said the notification.
When reached, Mehta declined to comment but confirmed he would be appearing in all matters in the 2G spectrum case before the Delhi high court. The Supreme Court, which monitored investigations into the 2G case, also decided to appoint a SPP to ensure that the trial of the powerful accused was conducted the right way.
The responsibility came Grover’s way when U U Lalit, the apex court’s first choice, was appointed a judge in the SC. Significantly, the CBI decided to engage Mehta when Grover’s role, technically speaking, is not over — an overlap that comes against a backdrop of indications that the CBI was not quite happy with the way the SC’s nominee handled the case in the trial court. Sources in the CBI, in fact, are clear that Grover’s role came to an end the day the trial court announced its order.
“In our view, Grover’s role was limited to the proceedings before the special trial court set up for hearing the 2G case.Since now the trajectory of the case will be through the normal appellate process, the government can take a call on appointing a new SPP,” a source explained.
Grover, on his part, refused to comment, saying he didn’t speak with the press on matters that were sub judice. “People can form whatever view they want based on this but I don’t wish to say anything on the issue,” he toldTOI. Inhis verdict, CBI judge O P Saini was scathing in the prosecution’s criticism, noting how “it started with the case with great enthusiasm and ardor” but “by the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless”. The judge had blamed Grover and the regular CBI prosecutor for “moving in two different directions without any coordination”. - TOI