Government

This is Zero Material, Only Insinuation: Supreme Court on Sahara-Birla Papers

Senior counsel for the petitioners Prashant Bhushan says that they will file a fresh affidavit with more documents.

A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi, December 7, 2010. Credit: Reuters/B Mathur

A view of the Supreme Court building. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Friday, refused to go into a plea seeking a special investigation team (SIT) probe into the alleged recovery of documents by the IT department in connection with raids on two business houses here in 2013-14. These documents, as The Wire reported last week, showed that the Sahara Group and an Aditya Birla Group company allegedly made massive payments to prominent Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress politicians.

“You take this back. You come when you have some better material. This is zero material. It is only an insinuation,” a bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra said. As the bench was not inclined to order any investigation, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the allegations are “scandalous, malafide” and NGO Common Cause, which has filed the plea, was indulging in “kite flying”. The bench said it can only hear the matter if the NGO can come out with “better material” on December 14.

“We can’t order investigation only because you name a big person,” it said. “Give us some better material, good material. What is this material? Just because it is a computer entry would you rope in the entire world. We are very clear if the suspicion arouses the conscience of any person, it is a good material. “So far as this material is concerned, it does not arouse suspicion. We are not satisfied at all. These are high public functionaries. If you are bringing this material before us, it is nothing. It is a serious issue. You must give us something on which we can determine,” the bench said. The court did not accept the arguments of senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani that the investigation can be ordered based on the material provided by the NGO.

“All these are non-genuine documents. They are all fictitious documents. You are relying on that. We already had held it was all fictitious. Give us something authentic,” the bench said, referring to the material about one of the business groups. When advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan, who is senior counsel for Common Cause, referred to another business group, the bench said anyone, anywhere today can make entry of a hundred persons.

“There are thousands of unscrupulous persons in the country and can be making entries. Presuming we accept what you say then see how far-reaching impact it can have. We are not shying away from taking any action, but on which material we can order investigation,” the apex court said. “There should be some good material, there should be some supporting material and for investigation, there should be some prima facie material. At present, there is nothing. We can’t order investigation. You can’t have investigation only because you name a big person,” it said.

Speaking to The Wire, counsel for the petitioners, Prashant Bhushan, said: “The SC was dissatisfied with the evidence. Some of the attached documents were unclear prints, so the judges were not able to read them properly. We plan to file a fresh affidavit and tie that up with more documents that explain our charges better.”

  • K SHESHU BABU

    This shows how justice can become ‘ zero’ if corporate system controls. Even judges can have skewed opinion favouring the industrialists despite providing ample evidence if the fraudulent deals. Peasant Shushan and co must peruse the case relentlessly till genuine justice is out and the tycoon businessmen dealings are out into public domain