The Supreme Court on Thursday said no person, irrespective of their chair or wealth, would be spared in the 2G telecom spectrum scam investigations and slammed the Income Tax (I-T) Department for the slow probe against corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others for alleged tax evasion in the case.

The court also described as “mind boggling” the figures of the transactions mentioned in the first report by the I-T Department, observing it had not seen “so many zeros in our life”.

Directing the I-T Department to be quicker and not to treat in an “ordinary way” the cases relating to the 2G scam, the court said it wants a “result”.

“The I-T department must be quicker. This is not a normal case of tax evasion. It (probe) should have been done fast. These are not ordinary cases to be handled in ordinary way,” a bench of judges G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said after going through the report given in a sealed envelope.

The court assured the petitioners, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and others, that all the persons involved in the scam would be brought to justice irrespective of their wealth, position and power.

“You (petitioner) rest assured that no person, irrespective of their chair and wealth, could get immunity in any way,” the bench said. Adding: “Investigation in the case has made some progress which would not not have been possible in normal circumstances.”

The bench while directing the I-T department to place the complete report before it on May 13 said, “We would like to see the entire report on the action taken by you in the last three years when the department started probing on the complaint (filed against Radia). We would see what you have done after we started monitoring the case(of 2G scam).”

It also expressed surprise over the magnitude of transactions mentioned in the I-T department report, saying “figures are mind boggling”.

“We have never seen so many zeros in our life. Not even half of what has been mentioned here except in school mathematics classes,” the bench observed.

The I-T department, however, defended its ongoing probe saying the investigation has entered the “fifth layer” and that the approach towards the case has not been tardy.

The court, however, was not satisfied and said, “We are not concerned about layers but results.”

CBI meanwhile refuted the allegation made by CPIL which had contended that the big corporate players like Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, Essar Group CEO Prashant Ruia and Tatas were being let off in the scam probe.

Senior Advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI and ED, submitted that no person involved in the scam would be let off and that “investigation is still going on against Reliance and Tatas”.

The investigating agency also submitted that it will file fresh status report on the ongoing investigation in 2G scam after the summer vacation.

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June 2021