The Supreme Court is expected to deliver verdict on Friday morning on admitting two petitions which seek a CBI investigation against Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G telecom scam.
The top court will decide whether the petitions are maintainable or not - i.e. it will either admit one or both petitions, or dismiss them. If the court finds the petitions maintainable, it could issue a notice to the Centre or to the CBI or even to the Finance Minister.
One petition has been filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy and the other by leading lawyer and anti-corruption activist Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a non-governmental organisation. They seek that the minister be investigated for his alleged role in the telecom scam - Mr Chidambaram was Finance Minister in 2008 too, when then Telecom Minister A Raja allegedly gifted mobile network licenses and frequency to ineligible companies.
Mr Swamy's petition says that Mr Chidambaram must be held responsible for allowing the telecom scam on his watch as Finance Minister. A special CBI court had rejected Mr Swamy's request in February this year and he had appealed to the Supreme Court against this verdict.
Some days before that, the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences issued by Mr Raja and said that spectrum should have been auctioned instead of being given at no extra cost along with licences. 2G or second generation spectrum will now be auctioned this year on the court's orders. A Raja spent about a year in jail before being granted bail.
Mr Swamy says that Mr Chidambaram was aware of Mr Raja's actions. On matters like the pricing of spectrum, he should have intervened to protect the country's interests, Mr Swamy has argued.
The second petition filed by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan alleges that Mr Chidambaram as Finance Minister overruled his officers who favoured the auction of spectrum. Mr Bhushan also says that Mr Chidambaram allowed two companies that were allegedly shown undue favour by Mr Raja, to sell stake to foreign investors at massive profits on the basis of licences that they had got at hefty bargains. The companies - Swan and Unitech Wireless - have said no rules were violated because they did not sell their stake but created additional equity. Swan partnered with UAE-based Etisalat and Unitech with Norwegian company Telenor.
The government has said that both companies operated within the parameters of the law in those partnerships.