The Supreme Court on Monday said it will decide on whether Bharti Telecom and its chairman Sunil Mittal should be prosecuted or not on the allocation of additional spectrum during NDA regime, irrespective of opinions given by government law officers.
"We are monitoring the case so the final opinion will be of this court," a bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said when the CBI contended that the case has been referred to Attorney General after differences cropping up between the investigating and prosecution wing of the agency on the issue.
The bench further queried under what provision the matter has been referred to the AG and whether it should not have been referred to the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) appointed by it. Senior advocate U U Lalit was appointed as the SPP.
The bench however, asked the government to get the opinion of AG and adjourned the hearing.
"Let the government contact the AG to know what is his opinion," the bench said when the senior advocate K K Venugopal said that matter has been referred the AG on October 23.
The bench posted the case for further hearing on November 29.
The CBI in its status report into the probe of spectrum allocation during former Telecom Minister Pramod Mahajan's tenure stated that after director (Prosecution) in the CBI disagreed with the investigators on filing the charge sheet against the accused named in the FIR, the matter was referred to the AG for his opinion.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), said while the entire hierarchy in the CBI was in favour of filing charge sheet against former telecom secretary Shymal Ghosh, J R Gupta, Deputy Director General (DDG) (value added services) etc, the Director Prosecution in the agency was in disagreement with them.
Bhushan, on the last hearing, had claimed that during the investigation, the investigating officer found a loss of Rs 508.22 crore (Rs 5.08 billion) to the government with active role allegedly played by Mittal of Bharti Airtel in connivance with Mahajan, the then Telecom Minister and Ghosh.