SC to take cognisance of CBI keeping scribe in dark about Upendra Rai and ED Sharad Chaudhary case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to take cognizance of the case of CBI keeping a scribe in the dark for 20 months about the closure of preliminary inquiry against him for allegedly trying to influence the Enforcement Directorate's probe in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

"We will take cognisance of it," a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said after senior advoacte Ram Jethmalani showed the CBI communication received by the journalist. The CBI communication dated April 16, 2013 stated that the preliminary inquiry started on the apex court's May 5, 2011 order against Upendra Rai, then director (News) Sahara News Network, was closed on August, 30 2011.

It was alleged that Rai had tried to bribe Assistant Director of ED Sharad Chaudhary to get favour for corporate lobbyist Niira Radia. The bench, which took on record the copy of the communication, asked Jethmalani to file a proper affidavit in this regard. The issue was taken up when the bench was to hear the contempt case against Sahara Group Chief Subrata Roy for allegedly interfering with the probe in the 2G spectrum case.

Jethmalani, who alongwith advocate Keshav Mohan was appearing for Roy, said this closure of preliminary inquiry against Rai will have a bearing on the main contempt petition. The CBI was asked to inquire after an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), had alleged that Rai had allegedly met an Assistant Director of ED and offered him Rs two crore as bribe for getting favour for Radia, who was under the scanner of various government agencies.

A day after, the apex court on May 6, 2011 had initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Roy and two scribes — Upendra Rai and Subodh Jain — who were then with Sahara India News Network.

The apex court had taken note of the fact that they had allegedly tried to intimidate and blackmail Enforcement Directorate's Assistant Director Rajeshwar Singh, who is the investigating officer in the 2G spectrum case. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan was appearing for Rai.

Senior advocate, Vikas Singh, appearing for Jain, said even before the court had passed the order, his client had written to the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance about the allegation against Singh. Further, he said allegations about Singh were not in connection with his tenure in the ED but during his posting with the Uttar Pradesh Police. (PTI)

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