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CBI open to filing report in apex court on spectrum probe

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it was willing to file a status report, as and when required, on its investigations into the scandal involving spectrum allocation to mobile companies.

The investigating agency told the court that it would argue on merit the petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) urging the court to monitor the probe.

The CBI said this when CPIL’s senior counsel Prashant Bhushan suggested engaging two former CBI officers for supervising the probe on behalf of the court.

‘My statement (of filing the status report) has not been understood in proper perspective… I will like to argue the petition on merit,’ CBI’s senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly.

Venugopal said the petition should be dismissed as it had relied on confidential documents. He said that there were precedents where the apex court had dismissed petitions on this ground.

The confidential document related to an opinion by a joint secretary.

The CPIL has moved the apex court seeking the monitoring by the court of the investigations into spectrum scandal by the CBI or setting up a special investigating team (SIT).

The CBI told the court that there could be court monitoring of investigations only if the same were being conducted in violation of the statutory provisions.

Referring to the court’s observation that the enormity of the amount involved in the scandal was mind boggling, Venugopal said that the investigating agency had acted with expedition, efficiency and alacrity.

Responding to the offer of the CBI to file status report till the filing of the charge-sheet, Bhushan earlier told the court that it was neither possible nor practical for the court to monitor the progress in the investigation on a day-to-day basis.

Bhushan said that two former officers of CBI should be entrusted the responsibility of supervising the CBI investigation on behalf of the court.

The senior counsel said the CBI needed to explain what it was doing for one year after the case was handed over to it and it filed a first information report against an unknown person.

At this, the court said that the CBI has to clear its position on this aspect.

Referring to the CBI claim that listening to 5,800 intercepted telephone conversations was a ‘painful’ process, the court said CBI could have got the gist of these conversations from the department concerned.

The arguments will continue Thursday.

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