Millennium Post

PIL on political-corporate nexus: Supreme Court seeks Centre's response

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice T S Thakur, issued notices and sought response of the parties within six weeks on the PIL filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL).

At the outset, the bench asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CPIL, to disclose his source of information in a sealed cover. "He is a whistle blower. He has already been physically threatened," Bhushan said.

Indicating his reluctance to part with it, the lawyer said the person who had provided him the information has already given up the job and has been threatened too.

The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi, asked Bhushan if there was any link between the favours granted by the bureaucrats and politicians to the group and reciprocation of the same. "Is there any correlation as to what they have got in response of their professional functions," it said, adding that there has to be a reciprocation of favours.

Responding to the query, Bhushan said all these officials and ministers, who received favours, knew that they have been dealing with the files of the particular company in their professional capacity. He also referred to various email communications to claim there has been a nexus among politicians, bureaucrats and the company. He also referred to a provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act to say mere acceptance of gifts and favours is sufficient to infer culpability under the Act.

During the brief proceedings, Bhushan said that this is similar to the Niira Radia case and investigation is needed to unravel it. On being asked about the authenticity of the emails on the ground that they might have been deleted, the lawyer said that any forensic investigation can authenticate them.

Bhushan told the bench that he has already told the company that if any harm came to the whistleblower then he would hold a press conference on the entire issue. The bench asked Bhushan why he has not made the persons, named in the petition, as parties on the ground that their reputation may also get tarnished.Bhushan referred to a previous case law in the Hawala matter and said that the persons named in the petition were not required to be made a party.

He referred to the names of Congress leaders Sriprakash Jaiswal, the then Coal Minister, Beni Prasad Verma, who was then holding Steel Ministry portfolio, Digvijay Singh and BJP leader Varun Gandhi.

Referring to certain emails, he said that three out of 10 persons, whose names were recommended by politicians and bureaucrats, got employment with the company. The PIL, filed on February 27, has sought court-monitored probe into alleged "political-bureaucratic-corporate nexus".
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