HC asks surgeon to appear for inquiry in a ED matter

On Tuesday, the High Court of Madras directed Indian born British robotic surgeon M. Senthil Nathan, 60, to appear for inquiry before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in connection with the 2G spectrum case from Thursday & prove his bona fides by cooperating with the investigation.

After senior counsel, Sonia Mathur & Special Public Prosecutor G. Hema accused the surgeon of not having responded to several summonses issued for an inquiry, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh passed the interim order.

They claimed that he budged & appeared for inquiry only after issuance of a Look Out Circular.

Stating that the investigation agency, at the present stage, was not in a position to state whether he was being inquired as an accused or just a witness in the 2G spectrum case, the counsel said he was prevented from flying back to London only because the inquiry with him had not yet concluded.

Senior lawyer Satish Parasaran, representing the surgeon, said, his client had already been inquired for more than 40 hours & the investigators had full access to his mobile phones & e-mail accounts.

SC junks Essar’s plea challenging Spl 2G court’s jurisdiction

SC junks Essar's plea challenging Spl 2G court's jurisdiction
SC junks Essar’s plea challenging Spl 2G court’s jurisdiction

The Supreme Court today dismissed pleas of Essar Teleholdings Ltd and its promoters challenging the Special CBI court’s jurisdiction to hold trial against them in the case arising out of the probe in 2G spectrum scam.

“We dismiss the appeals and the writ petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and justices A K Sikri and R Nariman said.

The apex court had on September 22 reserved its verdict on a petition filed by the company and its promoters Ravi and Anshuman Ruia contending that since their is no offence made out against them under Prevention of Corruption Act, Special 2G Court had no jurisdiction to prosecute them in the case.

They had submitted that the magisterial court had the jurisdiction to try them as they have been only charge sheeted for conspiracy and cheating under sections 120B and 420 of the IPC, respectively.

The CBI had opposed their plea, saying the company and its promoters were trying to scuttle the trial that was in an advanced stage.

The CBI had also opposed their second plea for joint trial with other accused in the main 2G spectrum scam case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, saying this will amount to further delaying of criminal proceedings for four more years.

 

( Source – PTI )

Additional spectrum: Court to pass order on charge on Oct 7

NCDRCA special 2G court today fixed October 7 for pronouncing its order on framing of charges in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case in which ex-Telecom SecretaryShyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms are accused.

Special CBI judge O P Saini, who was scheduled to pass the order today, deferred it.

“The order is not ready. Put up for order on October 7,” the judge said, adding, “it may be tentative (on October 7) as the records of the case are so voluminous.”

Besides order on charges, the court would also pass the order on the bail plea of Ghosh on October 7.

Ghosh and three telecom companies — Hutchison Max(P) Ltd, Sterling Cellular Ltd and Bharti Cellular Ltd — were charge sheeted by CBI in the case relating to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly led to a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the exchequer.

Ghosh, a 1965 batch retired IAS officer, was the Telecom Secretary between February 7, 2000 and May 31, 2002.

CBI had earlier argued that Ghosh had given additional spectrum to the telecom companies at “throwaway prices” causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

Ghosh had countered CBI’s arguments, saying private firms were not the only beneficiaries of surplus radio waves, but state-run MTNL and BSNL had also benefitted.

He had claimed that it cannot be said that allocation was done primarily to benefit private companies and asserted that he had not abused his official position in any manner.

Similarly, the accused firms had also countered CBI’s loss theory, saying they were allotted “spare radio waves” which would have caused gain to the government.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Ghosh had “deliberately” and with “malafide intention” did not obtain comments of then Member (Finance) of DoT on the issue despite the matter involving huge “financial implications”.

All the accused have been charge sheeted for the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy (section 120-B) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

 

( Source – PTI )

Spectrum: Pleas vs 2G court’s jurisdiction dismissed

Spectrum: Pleas vs 2G court's jurisdiction dismissed
Spectrum: Pleas vs 2G court’s jurisdiction dismissed

A special 2G court today dismissed separate pleas filed by two telecom firms, which were charge sheeted in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case challenging its jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini also imposed the cost of Rs 25,000 each on the two telecom firms M/s Hutchison Max(P) Ltd and M/s Sterling Cellular Ltd.

“Both the applications are dismissed with a cost of Rs 25,000 each. The cost may be deposited within seven days, failing which a warrant of attachment will be issued,” the court said.

The court has now fixed August 17 for hearing arguments on charges in the case.

The firms had challenged the special court’s jurisdiction on the ground that their case did not relate to 2G spectrum scam, saying the special court was constituted to deal with matters pertaining only to 2G scam and additional spectrum case was not covered under it.

CBI had opposed the jurisdiction issue saying that the case was among the various matters being monitored by the Supreme Court in connection with the 2G scam.

The accused had argued that they never got licence in the period 2001 to 2008, which is under probe by CBI on the apex court’s direction and were already an existing licensee.

Former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Hutchison Max, Sterling and Bharti Cellular Ltd, were chargesheeted by CBI in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to exchequer.

The special court was earlier informed that the Supreme Court had quashed the order summoning Bharti Cellular Ltd CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia as accused in the case.

Besides Mittal, Ruia and Ghosh, the special court had also summoned Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh, who was then a Managing Director of Hutchison Max Pvt Ltd, as an accused.

2G: Kanimozhi moves SC seeking urgent hearing

KanimozhiDMK MP Kanimozhi has filed apetition in the the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing on her plea to quash the charges framed against her in the 2G case.

In her plea, Kanimozhi said that two-and-a-half years have passed since she first moved the Delhi High Court and later the apex court seeking quashing of charges against her.

She said the trial before the Special CBI court was progressing on a day-to-day basis and any delay in hearing would render her plea infructuous.

Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief Karunanidhi, said that in the absence of her plea not being heard at the earliest, she is “needlessly undergoing the agony of the trial”.

“The continuance of the trial against her without any material basis would amount to abuse of process of law, and result in gross miscarriage and failure of justice,” her application said.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the CBI on Kanimozhi’s petition seeking quashing of the charges against her.

Initially, Kanimozhi and the other accused in the 2G case had moved the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of charges, but on a plea by the CBI, they were put on hold.

Kanimozhi had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges against her in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, claiming she has been falsely implicated in the case.

Kanimozhi had said that she was one of the directors of Kalaignar TV for two weeks June 6-20, 2007, when she resigned and had nothing to do with the channel’s financial transactions.

The CBI alleged that the TV channel was the beneficiary of Rs. 200 crore transaction in the 2G scam.

(Source: PTI)

Had informed SG about cut-off date: Raja tells court

A RajaFormer Telecom Minister A Raja on Wednesday told a Delhi court that the then Solicitor General (SG) G E Vahanvati was informed that applications seeking 2G spectrum licence received till September 25, 2007 only would be processed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing 2G case trial, Raja denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that pages of the DoT’s note sheet regarding cut-off date were only meant for internal consumption of the department and not for SG.

“It was brought to the notice of the learned SG through the note sheet…, where it was clearly mentioned that 575 applications were received by the department, and that the applications received upto September 25, 2007 were going to be taken for processing for issuing LOI.

“Though the date of October 1, 2007 is not mentioned in the file. However, the number of applications received upto October 1, 2007 have been mentioned …,” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

Raja, whose cross examination will continue tomorrow, had yesterday said that the decision about the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for processing of applications seeking 2G spectrum licence was taken after “due deliberations” in DoT.

He had denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that he had decided the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 without any basis.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that in order to favour Unitech and Swan Telecom, Raja unilaterally advanced the cut-off date from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007 for processing applications for grant of 2G licences and had ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

CBI, in its charge sheet filed on April 2, 2011, had said, “the investigation has revealed that even though this cut-off date of October 1 had been announced, accused Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had already taken a view to keep the cut-off date as September 25.”

Raja is facing trial in the case along with former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Besides them, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms– Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd– are also accused in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
(Source: PTI)

2G: Raja accepts meeting Radia at his residence

2g1Former Telecom Minister A Raja, an accused in the 2G case, on Monday accepted having met former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia along with then Tata group chairman Ratan Tata at his residence in connection with work of Tata group, but categorically denied having any telephonic conversation with her.

“I met her once or twice along with Ratan Tata and thereafter, met her a few times, both in the Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MOC&IT),” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini while deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in 2G case.

“In both the Ministries, she came to meet me. She used to visit me in connection with work of Tata group. She met me once at my house along with Ratan Tata. “I am not able to recollect if I had any telephonic conversation with her from my side.

I am unable to I recollect exactly if she ever called me. I am sure that I myself never called her,” said Raja while being cross-examined by special public prosecutor U U Lalit, who asked if he has ever met Radia or not.

In July last year, while deposing as a prosecution witness, Radia had told the court that she had telephonic conversation about Cabinet formation with Raja and had attended meetings on behalf of Tatas with him at his residential office here during November 2008.

On being asked whether he was aware of Kalaignar TV, the DMK leader said that he was aware of it as a viewer and did not know its shareholding pattern. “I am aware as a viewer and watching Kalaignar TV (P) Limited since the time it was launched. It was launched in 2007.

I do not know who launched this channel. I am not aware of the management of Kalaignar TV,” Raja, whose cross- examination was deferred for tomorrow after he complained of being unwell, said. PTI

(Source: PTI)

Ex-PM, Cabinet were under confusion: Raja

2g1Former telecom minister A. Raja told a Delhi court on Tuesday that former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet members were “completely under confusion” created by “vested interests” about policy and procedure of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in the allocation of 2G spectrum. Deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Raja, an accused, told the court that he had held many discussions with the then prime minister and explained to him the policy and legal framework governing the issuance of licences and allotment of spectrum.

He also claimed that he had told Singh that there was a “cartel force” wanting to stop legitimate efforts of the DoT to boost tele-density and reduce tariff in the country by injecting competition. “I further disclosed (to PM) how pressure was put on me through legal and other means to restrain myself from these efforts. The prime minister told me that he got the letter (sent by Raja in November 2007) and it was discussed at length in the PMO, where a separate joint secretary is posted to look after DoT to apprise PM of all these issues,” Raja told special CBI judge O.P. Saini.

“I submitted relevant papers in a folder to the prime minister. Further he told me that members of the Cabinet were also completely under confusion created by vested interests and he handed over a letter to me which was written by Kamal Nath, the then Union minister, addressed to prime minister, which raised the same issues and wanted constitution of a group of ministers on these issues (relating to the policy and procedure of DoT),” he said.

Raja, whose deposition will continue on Wednesday, also told the court that he had “further felt that the Prime Minister/ PMO was completely misguided by the vested interests, who had taken the same stand before TDSAT on the issues”.

“In Parliament also, such confusing questions were asked by MPs at the behest of vested interests. So, I took the issue seriously and replied to the prime minister on the same day (on November 2, 2007) by writing the aforesaid letter. Explaining the correct legal position,” he said.

(Source:PTI)

2G: Not involved in Rs 200 crtransaction: A Raja

A RajaFormer Telecom Minister A Raja, an accused in a 2G scam-related money laundering case, today told a special court that he was not involved in the Rs 200 crore transaction, which as per the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was a bribe given to DMK-run Kalaignar TV by DB Group company.

Arguing on the bail application filed by Raja as well as on framing of charges in the case, advocate Manu Sharma, who appeared for him, said the DMK leader was earlier granted bail in the CBI’s 2G spectrum allocation case and he has been attending court proceedings keeping aside his political commitments.

“I (Raja) am facing trial in a separate (CBI’s) case in 2G spectrum allocation case. I was granted bail in that case and my conduct has been good and I am attending court proceedings by putting my political commitments on the back burner,” Raja’s counsel told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

His counsel also contended that there was no evidence in the case and it was a “mere coincidence” that he was a member of the DMK and his party had planned to start Kalaignar TV.

“How the prosecution (ED) can say that I have knowledge of transaction taking place back and forth. How do I know this transaction. How am I actually involved,” he said, adding, “It is an unhappy coincidence that I belong to that party (DMK).”

ED had filed a charge sheet against 19 accused, including Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, claiming that 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”.

During the hearing, Raja’s counsel argued that his client has been allowed to depose as a witness to defend himself in the CBI case and if he would be taken into custody, “the whole process of being examined as defence witness will be disrupted.”

During the proceedings, the court also heard arguments advanced by the lawyers representing some of the co-accused in the case.

(Source: PTI)

 

2G: Shahid Balwa wants to depose as witness

Shahid BalwaSwan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, one of the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case, today told a Delhi court that he wanted to depose as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial. Balwa’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that his client wished to depose as a witness in the case in which the court is scheduled to commence the recording of statements of defence witnesses from July 1.

“He (Shahid Balwa) wants to examine himself,” Aggarwal told the court after which the judge asked CBI whether it has any objection to it.

CBI’s prosecutor K K Goel replied “this is his (Balwa’s) right.” Balwa’s counsel initially told the court that he wanted to bring six witnesses in his defence but later he said he would be one of them.

“Defence is my right. They (CBI) have produced 153 witnesses and I am only seeking to summon 5-6 witnesses in my defence,” he said.

He also said co-accused, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, who are Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, were seeking permission to examine a total of five witnesses only in their defence in the case.

Regarding ex-Telecom Minister A Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, also an accused in the case, Aggarwal told the court that he was only summoning some documents in his defence.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order for tomorrow on the issue of calling defence witnesses and documents as sought by these accused.

The court had earlier allowed Raja’s plea seeking to depose as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial. The court had also allowed the pleas filed by former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar and accused firm Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd seeking to summon some witnesses in their defence in the case.

Besides these accused, Kanimozhi, Reliance ADAG executive Gautam Doshi, Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd had said they do not wish to lead any evidence in their defence.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd are also facing trial in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe. The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

(Source: PTI)