« Back to articlePrint this article

2G case: CBI officers met Raja's lawyer in solicitor general's office

Last updated on: November 15, 2010 08:32 IST
If the Government of India, the Union Cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office have a different position from A Raja's in the 2G spectrum case, how could the solicitor general meet the minister's lawyer in his office, asks Sheela Bhatt.

According to a high-level source in the Central Bureau Investigation, the controversial meeting of lawyers and CBI officers over the multi-billion rupee 2G spectrum scam reported by a daily newspaper on Saturday had been convened in New Delhi at Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam's office.

The minister in the eye of the storm, A Raja resigned late on Sunday night, when he handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

Anitha Shenoy, who is Telecommunication Minister Andimuthu Raja's lawyer, told that she did meet Subramaniam, but the media's interpretation of the meeting is incorrect.

If the CBI puts forward the facts of this sensational meeting before the Supreme Court on Monday in the ongoing case related to the telecom scam, then it will be an embarrassment for Subramaniam, tainted minister Raja and the United Progressive Alliance government.

At the meeting, it is alleged that Shenoy, who is Raja's lawyer, met with the solicitor general and two CBI officers. Representatives of the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate were also summoned to the meeting.

Opposition parties have criticised the reported meeting, alleging that this was a 'strategic session' called by Subramaniam, probably to save the minister who finds himself at the centre of a huge controversy.

Subramaniam has forcefully denied the media's interpretation of the alleged meeting.

Shenoy told, "No such meeting took place where a 'joint strategy' was discussed, as alleged." tried to contact Subramaniam, but he was unavailable for comment. Earlier in the day, he told the Mumbai┬ľbased DNA newspaper that 'These allegations are absolutely wrong and a complete work of fiction. She (Shenoy) had not been called to the meeting. Besides, she is a junior counsel. Raja's main counsel is T R Andhyarujina. That poor girl (Shenoy) had just come to my office to hand over a bunch of photocopied documents.'

When the UPA government's credibility in the 2G spectrum controversy is under scrutiny, its lawyer's defence appears weak. Subramaniam will have a tough time explaining his position to the Supreme Court.

The UPA government is feeling the political heat over the sensational meeting that has not only been branded unprecedented, but may be termed unethical, if proved.

According to information available with when Solicitor General Subramaniam called the CBI to send its officers to discuss the 2G spectrum case, the CBI did not send officers directly connected with the investigation.

The CBI source said the news report -- which claimed that the investigation officer in the 2G spectrum case was present at the meeting -- "is not correct."

Two officers -- a Special Director and a Deputy Inspector General of police -- went to Subramaniam's office, but the CBI source says the two officers did not carry any papers with them. They refused to reveal anything to Shenoy, Raja's lawyer, or to Subramaniam, the solicitor general.

After they left the meeting the two CBI officers complained to Bureau Director Ashwini Kumar. Harin Raval, the additional solicitor general, was in Ahmedabad when the meeting took place in New Delhi.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan has moved the Supreme Court with a plea that the 2G spectrum case that involves Raja should be monitored by the Court in view of the mounting evidence. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the government and the CBI.

When repeatedly asked if she had met Subramaniam, Shenoy said, "it was for a different matter (case)."

What had been reported in the daily newspaper which revealed the meeting, she said is "completely false."

"The way they are putting the matter is wrong," she added. "We never met like that."

"The report says as if we sat with the CBI officers and discussed and looked at everything," Shenoy said. "This is just not true. The CBI has got 200 files of the 2G spectrum case. They don't need anyone."

"I was not privy to any information because the CBI has submitted its arguments in a sealed cover in court," Shenoy added.

She pointed out that "this is the straightforward case. The case before the Supreme Court is about only one issue: Whether the Supreme Court should monitor the CBI's investigation in the 2G spectrum case or not."

The Bharatiya Janata Party believes that such a meeting where CBI officers met Raja's lawyer in the solicitor general's presence amounts to a conspiracy to 'rig advocacy before the Supreme Court.'

If the allegation is correct, then the most intriguing question is who directed Subramaniam to call such a meeting?

In its statement the BJP alleged that such a high-profile meeting could not have taken place without a directive from higher-ups in the government.

Such a meeting could be interpreted with disastrous political consequences for the UPA government.

Since Subramaniam represents the government, people can be led to believe that Raja and the Government of India are on the same page on the 2G spectrum issue.

The interpretation would be that Raja alone cannot be politically isolated, targeted, and defamed for the sensational scam.

If the Government of India, the Union Cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office have a different position from Raja's, how could the solicitor general meet the minister's lawyer in his office? The meeting conveys a political message.

If the Congress party is not in league with its ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (of which Raja is a member), and if the Union Cabinet differs with the minister's decisions, action or lack of action, in allotting 2G spectrum to telecom companies, why then did the government's lawyer in the case meet Raja's lawyer at such a sensitive time when the court is hearing the case?

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi