Tushar Mehta has been named the new special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case. (File)
The government has appointed additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta as special public prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case. But a gazette notification to this effect issued by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions makes no mention of Anand Grover who was appointed the lead prosecutor in the case by the Supreme Court in 2014.
This comes two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that investigated the case sent a letter to Mr Grover, asking why there had been a delay in filing the appeal against the acquittal of all 19 accused, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK lawmaker Kanimozhi. The verdict of CBI judge OP Saini on December 21 last year was critical of the prosecution, Mr Grover in particular.
In December, a CBI court acquitted all accused in the 2G case, including A Raja and Kanimozhi
"By the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident... Not only this, the most painful part is that learned special public prosecutor was not ready to sign the written submissions filed by him. What is the use of a document in a court of law, which is not signed by anyone?'' the court had said.
Tweeting a copy of the notification, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, "Government brazenly changes special public prosecutor of 2G case appointed by Supreme Court and appoints Modi/Shah's main lawyer Tushar Mehta as prosecutor in gross violation of Supreme Court's order. Government is getting more brazen by the day.''
While both Mr Grover and Mr Mehta refused to comment, sources said that Mr Grover was working on the appeal and believed that they had a very strong case.
Government sources denied that Mr Mehta's appointment was a violation. "The Supreme Court appointment was for the trial process and ended when the judgement was delivered. It doesn't necessarily extend to the appeals phase,'' they said.