The Union Government on Tuesday objected in the Supreme Court to the CBI’s decision to appoint senior advocate U. U. Lalit as special public prosecutor for the trial of former Telecom Minister A. Raja and other accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case. Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati told a Bench of Justices G. S. Singhvi and A. K. Ganguly that under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the special prosecutor has to be working under the State or the Union government for at least seven years.
After this technical question was raised by the government, the Bench asked the Attorney General to come out with the clear position by Friday.
While Mr. Vahanvati was making the submission, senior advocate K. K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said Mr. Lalit has been part of Maharashtra government’s panel for 15 years and on the Union government’s panel for five years.
Mr. Vahanvati said he was seeking a week to clarify the entire position as there was some apprehensions that Mr. Lalit’s appointment as the SPP could be challenged at any stage and it may derail the entire prosecution in the case.
During the hearing, the Bench said that Mr. Lalit’s name was suggested for appointment as SPP as he is one of the most competent persons for the job.
The CBI has registered cases against the accused persons under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The CBI had on April 1 informed the apex court that Mr. Lalit will be appointed as special public prosecutor for assisting the special court, set up for the exclusive trial of the 2G spectrum case.
Mr. Venugopal had told the court that the agency had been facing lot of difficulties in finalising the name of special public prosecutor to lead a team of its prosecutors in assisting the special court for trial of the 2G case.
He had said the CBI faced difficulty as most of the senior counsels have been hired by one or the other party.
Maintaining that in the given circumstances, Mr. Lalit was the best choice as CBI’s special public prosecutor, Mr. Venugopal had pointed out that he had a vast experience in various criminal laws.
Endorsing a plea by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation for appointment of a senior counsel as CBI prosecutor, the apex court too had been insisting on appointment of an able advocate as CBI prosecutor.