Government quizzed on starting telecom sector probe from 1999


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the government to file its reply on a plea seeking the court’s direction to the CBI to investigate irregularities in the telecom sector since 1999, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was in power.

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The application, filed by Citizens Grievances Redressal Foundation (CGRF), sought a “thorough and comprehensive investigation/probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into various illegalities and irregularities committed by various parties, including the private telecom operators and government officials, in the telecom Sector prior to 2001”.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly asked the central government to file its reply.

Appearing for the CGRF, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan said that during the regime of the NDA there was “huge corruption” because of the sudden announcement of the election after the fall of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government after losing confidence vote.

The senior counsel told the court that certain guidelines were framed in March 1999 which were sought to be violated in June 1999.

Since the move was resisted by the then telecom minister Jagmohan, he was removed and the department of telecom was brought under the prime minister.

The senior counsel told the court that till March 1999 the elections were not anticipated but the scenario suddenly changed after the fall of the government in the confidence vote.

Bhushan told the court that the said “irregularities and illegalities have been dealt with and highlighted in detail in the CAG report of 2000”.

The court was told that if no immediate action was not taken, the culprits would get a chance to destroy evidence and documentary proof.