Enforcement Directorate (ED) today opposed in a Delhi court the bail pleas of ex-Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, accused in the 2G scam related money laundering case, saying that the matter involves commission of “grave economic offence” by them.
ED, in its separate replies filed before Special CBI Judge O P Saini, vehemently opposed the bail pleas of the accused saying there exists a “prime facie” case against them, which in all probability will “result in conviction”.
“…. from the documents and material evidence filed with this court, there is sufficient case to believe that all the accused are guilty of the offences with which they are severally and individually charged,” ED said while responding to the bail plea of Raja.
In its replies, filed through Special Public Prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta, the ED said the case involves “commission of grave economic offence by the accused causing enormous loss to the public exchequer and laundering the proceeds of crime (which too are substantial) through a series of layering transactions solely with a view to lend a colour of legitimacy….”.
The court has now fixed June 3 for hearing arguments on the bail pleas and on the issue of framing of charges.
In its replies, ED also cited Supreme Court judgements saying it revealed that stringent conditions are needed for grant of bail in cases of economic offences.
Regarding Raja’s role, it contended that he had subverted telecom policy to favour certain pre-identified persons, who made windfall profits at the cost of the public exchequer.
“In lieu of illegal benefits, accused in conspiracy caused a transfer of a sum of Rs 200 crores, through several layers of front companies, which according to the documents submitted is in fact a bribe paid for the illegal benefits,” it claimed.
The money laundering case relates to the 2G scam in which the DMK-run Kalaignar TV was allegedly paid Rs 200 crore by the promoters of Swan Telecom.
ED has also claimed the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.
It said the money transactions constitute offence under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and are punishable with imprisonment not less than three years.
“Considering it as a special case, in light of gravity and seriousness of the offence and particularly the manner in which the same was committed…..it is prayed that court ought not exercise the discretion to grant bail,” ED said.
During the hearing, the accused told the court that they have received all the documents annexed with the charge sheet and scrutiny of papers were complete to their satisfaction.
“It was submitted by counsel for accused that since record of the case is voluminous, two days time may be granted for going through the same. Arguments for bail and on charge will be taken for hearing on June 3 in the presence of all the accused,” the judge said.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and P Amirtham had on May 26 appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against them and had moved their bail pleas.
They were summoned as accused by the court which had taken cognisance of the ED’s charge sheet filed against 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine companies.
DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal was also summoned as an accused in the case but she did not appear and her counsel sought her exemption from personal appearance for the day on health grounds which was allowed by the court.
Her counsel had earlier told the court that there was “unsoundness of mind” as far as Ammal’s health condition is concerned.
The court had held that there was “enough incriminating material” on record to proceed against them.
ED has also named as accused Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd.
ED had earlier told the court that its probe into the case emanates from the 2G scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed the scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED also alleged that being the then Telecom Minister, Raja had the principal role in the allotment of 2G licences and he had “assisted” in the offence of money laundering.
It said that Ammal was holding 60 per cent share in Kalaignar TV whereas co-accused Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had a stake of 20 per cent each.
ED also alleged there was a “reverse trail” of money from Kalaignar TV to Dynamix Realty through Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd (CFPL) and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd (KFVPL).
Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the 2G scam case in which CBI had earlier filed its charge sheets and are out on bail.