New Delhi, Apr 11: The Supreme Court today directed the government to appoint senior advocate U U Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor for the trial of 2G spectrum case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja and others.
The apex court said that Lalit will be at liberty to choose his team of prosecutors from the panel of advocates working for the CBI which said it will file its supplementary charge sheet by April 24 in the case.
The court said the agency can nominate its advocates to assist Lalit in the trial. Earlier, the Centre had objected to the appointment of Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task.
A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly made it clear that the trial will be held on a day-to-day basis and no adjournments would be granted.
It said that no other court will entertain any petition or application relating to the case other than the apex court.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said the agency will file its supplementary charge sheet by April 24.
The CBI had on April 2 filed its first charge sheet against Raja and eight others as well as three telecom companies under various provisions of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Centre had raised technical objections to Lalit's appointment saying that he should have worked under the state or the Union Government for at least seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Venugopal had submitted that Lalit had been in the lawyer's panel for the Maharashtra government and the Centre for 15 years and five years respectively and he fulfils the criteria.
But Attorney General G E Vahanvati had submitted that being in the panel is not sufficient and one should be the government's standing counsel for seven years.
The court had said that the Act does not mention the word "standing counsel" and the objection raised was highly technical which should be given "reasonable" interpretation.
Vahanvati had said there were some apprehensions that Lalit's appointment as the Special Public Prosecutor could be challenged at any stage and it may derail the entire prosecution of the case.
The agency had on April 1 informed the apex court that Lalit will be appointed as Special Public Prosecutor for assisting the special court, set up for the exclusive trial of the 2G spectrum case.
Maintaining that in the given circumstances, Lalit was the best choice as CBI's special public prosecutor, Venugopal had pointed out that he had a vast experience in various criminal laws.
The agency in its first charge sheet alleged that Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's personal secretary R K Chandolia, Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.
Others named in the charge sheet include Vinod Goenka, a Director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless(Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, Group Managing Director and two Senior Vice Presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company. PTI