Vested interests scuttling probe in Aircel-Maxis case: ED officer to Supreme Court

New Delhi, An ED officer probing the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case has petitioned the Supreme Court that he is being hounded by frivolous allegations by proxies who hold “vested interests” in the high-profile 2G spectrum allocation case. ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh yesterday filed a criminal contempt plea before the court against Rajneesh Kapur who had recently moved the apex court against him, alleging the officer possessed disproportionate assets. The apex court had admitted Kapur’s PIL that also sought a probe against the ED officer.

The officer, nominated by the top court as the lead ED investigating officer in the 2G case few years ago, has charged in his petition that his probe has “irked a sizeable number of individuals, corporate, lobbyists and corrupt and dishonest persons who have time and again filed false, frivolous and motivated complaints against him”.He said the fresh PIL against him is nothing but a bunch of old and unsuccessful allegations against him and are a “brazen attempt to delay the completion of 2G spectrum case and the Aircel-Maxis case”.

Singh said the allegations levelled against him are not new as “no new evidence has been filed” adding that the allegations of improper conduct and disproportionate assets, filed in the PIL recently, were made in a similar fashion about 7 years ago also and his organisation (ED), the CBI and the CVC had given him a clean chit after a probe was conducted. The Supreme Court had then ordered that no interference should be made by anyone in the functioning of the officers who are probing the 2G case, including Singh and had also issued a contempt notice.

The ED officer charged that his reputation has “suffered grave attack ever since he had been investigating the 2G scam and related investigations.” Singh said that the apex court’s order in March to finish probe in the Aircel-Maxis case in six months time is the trigger for the latest allegations of misconduct being levelled against him.”This order is probably the reason for filing such a frivolous petition by the contemnor (Kapur) who is acting as proxy of some vested interests with the sole motive to obstruct the justice delivery system and frustrate the proper functioning and administration of duties by the petitioner in utter disregard to the orders passed by this court (SC),” he said.

He said that the CBI and CVC have also examined these complaints in the past and have found them to be “frivolous.” “It is thus clear and apparent that the sole motive of the contemnor (Kapur), by acting as a proxy to those holding vested interests, is to somehow scuttle, delay and frustrate the ongoing investigation being carried out by the petitioner in the Aircel Maxis case and delay the completion of the investigation by the petitioner,” he said.

The ED recently filed a charge sheet against former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis case and has twice questioned and recorded the statement of the senior Chidambaram. It has, in the past, also questioned senior officials of the Union finance ministry and the now defunct Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in connection with this case. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had yesterday filed a plea in the apex court as he sought to implead himself in the defence of the ED officer in light of the latest complaint.

A vacation bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra had subsequently asked Swamy to mention the matter on June 25 before another bench as Justice Malhotra recused herself from hearing in the matter without assigning any reason. Kapur in his petition had said that certain orders have been passed by the apex court protecting Singh, against any action by any of the authorities. It was contended in the petition that earlier orders of apex court can apply only against any mala fide or frivolous complaints but there cannot be absolute bar against action for the criminal acts of the officer, which may be seen by the apex court itself by any independent mechanism.

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