Jailed DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar Saturday argued in the special court that they cannot be said to have committed a criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in the 2G scam as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the spectrum.
Responding to a fresh plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which sought the trial court’s nod to frame fresh charges against the 17 accused, including former communication minister A. Raja, both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar asked the court to dismiss the agency’s application and “render justice”.
Their lawyers V.G. Pragasam and S.J. Aristotle, submitting their reply before Special Judge O.P. Saini, said Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had nothing to do with the allocation of spectrum nor were they in any way the beneficiary of the spectrum licences so allocated.
They said even the CBI had said that the two were not part of the conspiracy relating to allocation of spectrum.
“The offence punishable under Section 409 r/w 120 B IPC (Indian Penal Code) inasmuch as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the valuable spectrum illegally, in violation of the existing policies and eligibility criterion in order to confer wrongful gain to the corporate officials,” said Kanimozhi and Kumar in their reply application.
The CBI Sep 26 asked the special court for permission to frame charges for criminal breach of trust by a public servant against Raja, his former aide R.K. Chandolia, and former telecom department secretary Siddartha Behura.
Criminal breach of trust is a non-bailable offence with punishment that stretches from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said that a case of framing of charges for criminal breach of trust under section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was certainly made out against Raja, Chandolia and Behura.
“It is submitted that accused one, two and three (Raja, Behura and Chandolia) were public servants having a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum in their respective capacities as public servants,” the CBI said in its application.
The agency also pressed for charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against the remaining 14 co-accused in the 2G scam, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms.
“Besides Raja and two former officials, all others, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms, should be charged under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC,” the application states.
However, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar in their reply said they were made co-accused by way of supplementary charge sheet for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act only for the alleged receipt of Rs.200 crore as illegal gratification, which in fact was only a genuine loan transaction through proper banking channels and which has been paid back with interest after due tax deducted at source.
“Therefore, criminal liability or offence under section 409 IPC r/w 120B IPC cannot be fastened on Knimozhi and Kumar by extension of the alleged larger conspiracy relating to allotment of spectrum licence,” said the reply.
The other accused include Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra and Reliance Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nayar, besides three companies – Unitech Wireless, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.
These people apart, agency has also named as co-accused Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Film`s Karim Morani, and the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal.