SC Gets Crack­ing on Cor­po­rate Lit­i­gants

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Tak­ing a cue from A-G’s sug­ges­tion to im­pose costs on cor­po­rates, CJI TS Thakur on Fri­day asked BCCI, Star TV and three tel­cos to de­posit .₹ 1.5 crore be­fore it ad­ju­di­cates on a dis­pute over cricket alerts. ED in con­nec­tion with its probe into money laun­der­ing charges re­lated to the case.

Fur­ther, CBI is ac­tively con­sid­er­ing whether to in­voke the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act (OSA).

The de­fence min­istry is ex­pected to make a fresh com­plaint as many of its doc­u­ments marked ‘se­cret’ or ‘con­fi­den­tial’ were re­cov­ered dur­ing the Ital­ian probe and now find men­tion in the or­der.

A CBI spokesper­son de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

As the po­lit­i­cal mud­sling­ing has in­ten­si­fied over the af­fair, those ac­cused of in­volve­ment have in­cluded top Congress lead­ers such as So­nia Gandhi and Ahmed Patel, who’ve de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

The plan, ac­cord­ing to top sources in the gov­ern­ment, is to go be­yond just the ex­ist­ing first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) filed un­der the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act (PCA) and look at other le­gal vi­o­la­tions. OSA, by that mea­sure, could prove to be more strin­gent.

“The min­istry is in touch with in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies to speed up the probe. All pos­si­ble as­sis­tance is be­ing given to agen­cies in­ves­ti­gat­ing the probe (to) iden­tify the guilty,” a se­nior min­istry of­fi­cial said with­out shar­ing de­tails. Among the thou­sands of doc­u­ments that were shared by Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tors in the Agusta case, there were sev­eral ref­er­ences to In­dian mil­i­tary pro­grammes that the Ital­ian com­pany was in­ter­ested in. Th­ese doc­u­ments in­cluded in­ter­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions drawn up by air head­quar­ters for the VVIP chop­per deal as well as de­tails of an­other project to ac­quire light util­ity chop­pers for which Agusta was a con­tender. One of the doc­u­ments was a draft trial eval­u­a­tion re­port of the ri­val Siko­rsky S92 he­li­copter that was the only con­tender for the VVIP chop­per deal along with Agus­taWest­land’s AW101 he­li­copter. This top se­cret doc­u­ment, in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect, may have been leaked by se­nior of­fi­cers who were part of the process. In 2013, CBI wrote to the de­fence min­istry, ask­ing it to au­then­ti­cate the re­cov­ered doc­u­ments, which it did.

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