The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are having a trying time finding the best man to serve as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the 2G trial.
Given the high profile of the accused,former Union Minister A Raja,a former Secretary,and heavyweight corporates,the Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly,which is hearing the case,repeatedly underlined: Look out for the best man. We want the most competent person to be appointed as the special public prosecutor and he will deal with no other case.
But theres a problem,the best and the biggest are taken,says K K Venugopal,counsel for CBI and ED. We will get a competent man, he told The Indian Express. The name will be placed before the court on Friday (tomorrow).
The chargesheet is expected to be filed in the special court on April 2.
But Venugopal admits the search has been difficult. I have conveyed (as much) to the court. All the eminent lawyers and senior advocates have been retained by the telecom companies and other respondents, he told The Indian Express. Consider this:
Harish Salve,former Solicitor General,appeared for Tata Teleservices and has also accepted briefs for Videocon Teleservices Limited (Datacom Solutions Private Limited), D B Telecom Limited (Etisalat),and Allianz Infratech Private Limited.
Unitech Wireless Group and Loop Telecom Private Limited,named as respondents as alleged beneficiaries,have hired senior advocate C A Sundaram. A veteran at corporate cases,Sundaram is assisted by advocate Meet Malhotra before the apex court Bench.
Former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh has been roped in by Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (Shyam Telelink). He acknowledges there must be trouble finding the right man as the special prosecutor. Incidentally,as ASG,Singh was appointed Special Prosecutor in 2006 in the Abu Salem case before the special court. It would be a difficult choice to make as the person would be required to have an exceptional knowledge of criminal law and must agree to work full-time on this case as suggested by the court, Singh said. Proceedings before the special designated judge O P Saini are likely to be on a day-to-day basis.
Idea Cellular has got top lawyer C S Vaidyanathan who,in the past,has also taken briefs for telecom cases,like in 2003 when he appeared for Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) before the TDSAT.
Senior advocate Gopal Jain is appearing for Vodafone Essar South Limited and Vodafone Essar Spacetel Limited.
South Korea wireless provider S K Limited has chosen senior advocate Dayan Krishnan,who was part of the legal team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) which went to US to question David Headley.
Another veteran,Mukul Rohatgi,is representing Shahid Balwa,Managing Director of Swan Telecom and the firm too,along with senior advocate Sidharth Luthra.
Even the independent regulator,the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,is not taking any chances and has roped in former Attorney General Soli S Sorabjee,senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi and P S Narsimhan.
Noted jurist F S Nariman filed an application for making COAI as a party,which was allowed by the bench. Following which,he argued on behalf of the Association.
As for the Department of Telecom,ASG Indira Jaising led by A-G Goolam E Vahanvati,are appearing before the apex court.
PAWAR,PRAFUL USED BALWA PLANE: BJP
Sharad Pawar flew to Dubai in February 2010 in an aircraft owned by Shahid Balwas Eon Aviation,the BJPs Eknath Khadse alleged in the Maharashtra Assembly Thursday. Pawar was accompanied by Balwa,Pawars wife Pratibha,and several cricket administrators,Khadse said.
PRAFUL PATEL and Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil,also of the NCP,too had used Balwas aircraft last year,Khadse said,and demanded an inquiry into the links of these politicians with the realty tycoon who is now in prison on charges related to the 2G scam.