An image of the Supreme Court of India. (Source: Supreme Court of India website)

Aircel-Maxis Case: Supreme Court Judge Recuses From Hearing Swamy’s Plea

A Supreme Court judge today recused herself from hearing a plea of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy seeking to implead himself as a party in a case related to probe into alleged disproportionate assets of an Enforcement Directorate officer investigating the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

Swamy said the petition filed by Rajneesh Kapur seeking investigation of assets of ED officer Rajeshwar Singh, in which the top court had on June 5 sought assistance of Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, was an attempt to delay the ongoing probe in the Aircel-Maxis case.

A vacation bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra asked Swamy to mention the matter on June 25 before another bench as Justice Malhotra recused herself from hearing in the matter without assigning any reason.

“You mention the matter on next Monday (June 25). The bench will be sitting in different combination at that time,” the bench said.

During a brief hearing, Swamy said the apex court had earlier this year directed for completion of investigation in the Aircel-Maxis deal case within six months.

This ED officer was protected by the apex court on several occasions. To delay the investigation in the case a writ petition was filed against the investigating officer alleging that he had acquired disproportionate assets.
Subramanian Swamy, BJP Rajya Sabha MP

The BJP leader said at the behest of some powerful people, the investigation in the case was being delayed and urged the court to make him a party in the writ petition filed against the ED officer.

The court said this bench cannot hear this matter and asked Swamy to again mention the matter on June 25. On June 5, the apex court had sought assistance of ASG Maninder Singh and tagged the writ petition with the pending matter related to the 2G spectrum scam.

The apex court had listed the matter for hearing on July 3.

Kapur in his petition had said certain orders have been passed by the apex court protecting Rajeshwar Singh, against any action by any of the authorities.

Also read: Court Reserves Order On Karti’s Plea For Protection From Arrest In Aircel Maxis Case

It was contended in the petition that earlier orders of apex court can apply only against any mala fide or frivolous complaints but there cannot be absolute bar against action for the criminal acts of the officer, which may be seen by the apex court itself by any independent mechanism.

Counsel for Kapur had argued that Singh had acquired disproportionate assets details of which are given in the petition, which needs to be looked into and investigated.

To this, the apex court in its order had said, “the prayer that this court may itself look into the material against respondent no. 3 (Rajeshwar Singh) will be considered on the next date of hearing for which the entire material be placed before the court”.

The apex court had on March 12 set a deadline of six months for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED to complete the investigation into the alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval given in the Aircel-Maxis deal case in which former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti have been questioned by the probe agencies.

Also read: Aircel-Maxis Case: Enforcement Directorate Files Charge Sheet Against Karti Chidambaram