CBI today scotched off allegations that the agency's Director Ranjit Sinha's opinion on Swan telecom, alleged to have been owned by Reliance, could hamper trial, as the views were in his individual capacity and never formed part of any court documents. Sources privy to the development said in January all the accused companies had approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of FIRs against them as framing of charges had taken too much time.
In June, when the CBI Director was on a foreign tour, an affidavit was filed by the investigating team stating that the trial was in advanced stage and FIR cannot be quashed. When Sinha returned, the file was put up before him for "post facto" approval. While going through the file, Sinha came to the conclusion that the contention of the accused companies on the clause eight under UASL guidelines dealing with cross-holding holds some merit and filed as his affidavit before the court.
This was outrightly rejected by then Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit saying the case against Shahid Balwa and the Reliance telecom directors had reached a crucial juncture and this opinion could jeopardise the case. Yesterday the Supreme Court has summoned all these records which will become case property after allegations were levelled by lawyer Prashant Bhushan that CBI Director was trying to scuttle the probe against Reliance.
When contacted, Sinha said he would not like to comment as the matter is before the court. However, he said that it was his individual opinion which he had expressed.
"CBI may like to put it on record that there has been no attempt whatsoever to revise or amend the charge sheets that have been filed in the court. There has been no attempt either to favour any of the accused persons in the 2G case," CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, submitted that reports have appeared in the media that the CBI Director and DIG Santosh Rastogi had sent a draft request to Lalit to stop the ongoing trial against Reliance and re-open the case for further probe.
He said the director wants reopening of the whole investigation as "the charge sheet is based on a wrong premise". "Why does he want to stop the trial which is almost complete," he asked.
Bhushan said that the charge sheet was filed on the premise that since RTL was not eligible for the 2G licences, it created Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd as its front company to secure the radio waves while violating the clause of Unified Access Service Licences (UASL) guidelines.
However, now it reportedly appears that the Director is of the view that on the day of award of licences RTL had given up the ownership of Swan Telecom, he said.
The NGO had said the DIG's letter and note make it clear that the draft was sent on behalf of the CBI Director to Lalit who had shot back a three-page strong letter asking who had given the instruction that trial court be asked to be stopped by the prosecution.