SC hears Mittal and Ruia’s plea against 2G special court’s summons

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Even as the CBI insisted before the Supreme Court that the plea by Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel and Ravikant Ruia of Essar challenging the 2G special court’s order summoning them be placed before its 2G bench, another apex court bench commenced hearing the plea.

The 2G special court headed by Additional Session Judge O.P. Saini had summoned both Mittal and Ruia along with five others in connection with excess spectrum allocation scam during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime in 2002.

The hearing on the plea of Mittal and Ruia commenced Thursday after being deferred twice following recusal by Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Anil R. Dave from hearing the matter one after the other in two successive hearings April 15 and April 18 respectively.

At the outset of the hearing by the bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raised objections contending that the matter should go to the 2G bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan as the case was rooted in its Nov 29, 2012 order.

The senior counsel told the court that bench headed by Justice Singhvi was monitoring the matter since its inception.

It will be “most appropriate” that bench should hear the matter”, Venugopal told the court.

Holding that there was “no impediment in another bench hearing the matter”, lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the court that “on facts of the case this case it would be most appropriate to refer the matter to that bench.” Bhushan appeared for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation on whose plea the apex court had intervened in the 2G matter.

Bhushan raised an objection to Mittal and Ruia’s plea holding that they had come to apex court against the 2G special court’s order without approaching the Delhi High Court.

Responding to the objections raised by the CBI and the CPIL, senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Mittal, told the court that he was neither challenging the order of the passed by the 2G bench nor seeking its recall. “I am not on the fact. I am not challenging the order of this court. Nor am I seeking the recall of the order.”

Meeting the contention that matter should be heard by the 2G bench which was monitoring the matter, he told the court that when court monitors a case, it (monitoring) comes to end with the filing of the charge sheet.

“When the charge sheet is filed, the link (monitoring) is snapped. Umbilical court is snapped,” he contended.

“CBI has acted in pursuance to a direction (of the apex court). Matter ends after charge sheet has been filed. Where is the propriety issue,” he asked in a poser.

Assailing the 2G special court’s order, Salve said that the order was against apex court judgments.

“If you are prosecuting the company, you are prosecuting the company. You can’t prosecute the managing director on the grounds that he was directing mind of the company and its alter ego”, Salve told the court adding that the acts of the managing director could be attributed to a company and not the other way round.

Hearing in the matter will continue Friday.

The trial court March 19 summoned Mittal, Ruia and five others to appear before it April 11.

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