In fresh trouble for Sahara group chief Subrata Roy, the Supreme Court today asked why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for allegedly interfering in 2G scam probe.
Issuing notice to him on a contempt petition by an Enforcement Directorate's (ED) Investigating Officer in the the multi-crore scam, the apex court held that the plea was maintainable.
Roy is already facing the heat for not refunding investors money as directed by the apex court in a separate case and has been barred from leaving the country.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan also issued notices to two journalists working with Sahara Group-- Upendra Rai and Subodh Jain-- who had allegedly threatened and blackmailed the officer.
The court said that allegation of the officer Rajeshwar Singh is of "very serious nature" and rejected the contention of Roy and his employees that the contempt plea is not maintainable as it was not filed without the consent of the Attorney General.
It said that jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under the Constitution is independent of the Contempt of Courts Act and its powers cannot be "denuded, restricted or limited" by the Act.
"We are, therefore, of the view that the petition filed under the above mentioned provisions is perfectly maintainable and this Court has got a constitutional obligation to examine the truth of the allegations as to whether the respondents are attempting to derail the investigation which is being monitored by this Court.
"We, therefore, issue notice to the respondents to show cause why proceedings be not initiated against them for interfering with the court monitored criminal investigation," it said in its judgement on maintainability.
"Any interference, by anybody, to scuttle a court monitored investigation would amount to interfering with the administration of justice. Courts, if they are to serve the cause of justice, must have the power to secure obedience to its orders to prevent interference with the proceedings and to protect the reputation of the legal system, its components and its personnel, who on its behest carry on a court monitored investigation.
"The court is duty bound to protect the dignity and authority of this Court, at any cost, or else, the entire administration of justice will crumble and law and order would be a casualty," the bench said.