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SC shield for 2G officer

New Delhi, Nov. 7: The Supreme Court today restrained the Uttar Pradesh government from proceeding in any manner against a 2G scam investigator after complaints of harassment over a land deal.

The order on Enforcement Directorate officer Rajeshwar Singh — who has roots in the northern state — came as the CBI submitted its progress report in the court-monitored probe and complained that a “financially and politically powerful” individual in Malaysia was derailing investigations in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

A bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and K.S. Radhakrishnan took serious note of Singh’s alleged harassment and also stayed proceedings on a PIL in Allahabad High Court filed by an advocate against the officer.

Singh and the investigating agencies claim the suit is an attempt to browbeat him. “The intention was to terrorise the investigating officer,” K.K. Venugopal, the CBI counsel, said.

The judges then ordered protection for Singh and pointed out that he was an agent of the court. “God has been very kind to Mr Rajeshwar Singh. We make this observation for some purpose. He is at least alive. We will not be surprised if it (intimidation) happens to any one of us,” the bench said.

Venugopal claimed that “about 45kg of papers” related to allegations against Singh over the land deal had been sent to the state’s principal secretary (home) and other officials in the past few months. After this, the government directed the additional-director general of police (economic offences wing) to probe the complaint and issue summons on the ED officer.

In the Aircel-Maxis deal struck during the tenure of former telecom minister Dayandihi Maran, Venugopal claimed the agency was finding it difficult to interrogate the individual in Malaysia. “The gentleman who is involved in it is economically powerful and he is also powerful politically,” Venugopal said.

The counsel didn’t mention names. Maran is accused of “forcing” Chennai promoter C. Sivasankaran to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis, owned by Kuala Lumpur tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan, in 2006.

Venugopal said though the investigations related to the deal in India were over, various links on the trail of funds from Malaysia through the Mauritius route could not be established so far as the “powerful individual” was thwarting the efforts.

At this, the bench said: “This must be stopped. They have got the money. But you should act. The Union of India is a party before us.”

The bench said it would hear the 2G case on a day-to-day basis from January 15.

Officer dead

CBI officer Suresh Kumar Palsania, who investigated the 2G spectrum scam, died in a hospital here tonight of a blood disorder.

Palsania, 44, filed the chargesheet booking then telecom minister A. Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi. He received this year’s Police Medal.