Solicitor General Mohan Parsaran last week refused to tender his legal opinion on whether, in view of evidence on record, the CBI could chargesheet the high-profile accused, including former union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, in the Aircel-Maxis case pertaining to the 2G scam. The reason he gave was that the new government was about to take over and it would be inappropriate for him to give an opinion on this politically sensitive matter.
More importantly, he said it would not be appropriate for him to give an opinion on the issue since the opinion of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, in which he differed with the agency’s director of prosecution to say that the opinion against the accused may not stand judicial scrutiny and hence they shouldn’t be chargesheeted, was “unsigned and undated”. Parasaran also pointed out that the case pertained to a “court-monitored investigation with serious consequences”.
However, in a new twist in the case and one that could leave the outgoing UPA government open to the charge of trying to influence the case, just three days before it demits office, senior functionaries of the government Friday decided to ask Parasaran for his opinion.
Sources in the government told The Indian Express that the decision to ask Parasaran to revisit his stand at his juncture was taken at a “very senior level” and efforts were made to convince the law officer to change his stand. A senior minister is also learnt to have spoken to him to persuade him to give an opinion. However, the hurried move did not yield any result as Parasaran left for Chennai before the file could reach him. He is expected to return by Sunday evening.
The Aircel-Maxis case has seen many twists and turns, with Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati earlier refusing to give his opinion. The need for legal opinion arose after CBI’s Director of Prosecution said a case was made out against Maran and other accused and the agency should file a chargsheet against them while Director Sinha was of the opposite opinion.
Incidentally, the first time the file was sent to the Law Ministry for the AG’s opinion, it was sent back as it did not have the Director’s opinion. Later, the Director did the needful, penning a short opinion which was different from that of the DoP.
The case relates to allegations against Maran, contained in a PIL filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation, that as telecom minister he thwarted C Sivasankaran-owned Aircel’s repeated pleas for grant of mobile services licences from 2004 to 2006, forcing him to sell his stake at a discounted price to Maxis Group, owned by T Ananda Krishnan.