Saradha call record notice

The Supreme Court sought the response of Vodafone and Airtel on a CBI plea for call records

By Our Legal Correspondent in New Delhi
  • Published 30.03.19, 1:31 AM
  • Updated 30.03.19, 1:31 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Supreme Court Picture by Prem Singh

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of Vodafone and Airtel on a CBI plea for call records in connection with the Saradha probe and allegations that former Calcutta police chief Rajeev Kumar had suppressed vital clues.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to the telecom majors on the plea for the call records between August 1, 2012 and March 16, 2013.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, brought up an unconnected matter, alleging intimidation of customs officials by Bengal police over a gold-related search of a Trinamul MP’s wife at Calcutta airport recently.

Mehta cited the alleged incident to claim “constitutional anarchy” and “total lawlessness” in Bengal. CJI Gogoi then said: “Mr Mehta, you have drawn our attention. File an application.” Mehta agreed to so.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Bengal government, accused Mehta of raising the issue “to hog news headlines”.

On the Sarada call records, the CBI contended though the telecom companies had earlier shared the details with Bengal police, they refused to cooperate with the central agency when it sought the same information.

“It is clear that despite the repeated requests of the applicant (CBI) and the direction of the Government of India, the respondents (Vodafone and Airtel) have been surprisingly evasive in sharing the information and have failed to disclose the relevant information on the twin aspects as sought for by the applicant,” the CBI has said in affidavit filed in the court on Wednesday said.

“It is submitted that the said information is extremely germane not only to the investigations into the crimes forming part of the Sharada Chit Fund scam, but also to one of the aspects of the present contempt proceedings (against Kumar and others),” the affidavit said.

The contempt case relates to alleged obstruction of a CBI team at the former Calcutta top cop’s doors last month.