Brushing aside the Centre's objection, a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly directed it to issue a notification for the appointment of Lalit for the trial in the multi-crore scam which allegedly involves high profile people including top corporate honchos, bureaucrats and telecom firms.
The bench directed the special court, exclusively set up for holding the trial of the 2G spectrum case, to hold day-to-day trial without any adjournment. The court also restrained all other courts from entertaining any petition or application in the case and said that it has to filed before it.
The bench after passing the order adjourned the matter for April 26 after the Central Bureau of Investigation informed it that supplementary charge sheet will be filed in the case by April 24 relating to bribery.
"We make it clear that day-to-day trial will be conducted without any adjournment and no court shall entertain any petitions or applications relating to this case except this court," the bench said.
The apex court said that Lalit will be at liberty to choose his team of prosecutors from the panel of advocates working for the CBI.
The Centre had raised technical objections to Lalit's appointment saying that he should have worked under the state or the Union government for at least seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, had submitted that Lalit had been in the lawyer's panel for the Maharashtra [ Images ] government and the Centre for 15 years and five years respectively and he fulfilled the criteria. But Attorney General G E Vahanvati had submitted that being in the panel was not sufficient and one should be government's standing counsel for seven years.
The CBI had on April 2 filed its first charge sheet against Raja and eleven others including three telecom companies under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency in its first charge sheet has alleged that Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's personal secretary R K Chandolia, promoter of Swan Telecom Shahid Usman Balwa and MD of Unitech Sanjay Chandra entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for
allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.
Others named in the charge sheet include Vinod Goenka, a director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance [ Get Quote ] Telecom Company.