2G: Thomas is still CVC, but will not monitor probe

P J Thomas

Under heat from the Supreme Court, which has specifically questioned Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas' objectivity to monitor the 2G probe, the government on Wednesday saved Thomas' job by distancing him from the investigations into the alleged spectrum irregularities.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday virtually questioned the tenability of P J Thomas supervising the Central Bureau of Investigation's probe into the 2G scandal as he himself was Telecom Secretary at the relevant point of time.

On Wednesday, a Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Ashok Kumar Ganguly was told by the government's counsel, Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium, that Thomas had volunteered to recuse himself from "completely dealing" with the 2G probe being conducted by the CBI.

He said this was in the "highest traditions of the Indian civil services".

Subramanium told the Bench that Thomas had communicated he would not be part of the investigations into the 2G scandal. Subramanium said: "In accordance to the highest traditions of the Indian civil services, he (Thomas) will recuse himself from completely dealing with the investigations."

Following this, the court recorded the SG's submission and said: "The SG has submitted he has instructions that the present CVC has volunteered to recuse himself from the investigations of the 2G spectrum allocations on the basis of a case registered by the CBI on October 21, 2009".

The government also communicated to the court it has absolutely no objection to hand over the tapes containing the alleged conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia so that the court can preserve these for investigation.

There were allegations from the Opposition yesterday that these tapes would also go missing like the many documents of the Adarsh housing scam.

The court observed: "The government shall have no objection to hand over the alleged conversations taped by the director general, investigations, of the Income Tax department of Niira Radia. Hence, we direct the original conversations, in all possible electronic forms, be put in a sealed cover made over to the court after preparing copies. The Registrar General of the court shall put these under lock and key and make them available as and when required."

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