2G case: High Court refuses early hearing on CBI’s appeal

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant early hearing on the CBI’s appeal challenging the acquittal of former Union telecom minister A Raja and others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

The court was hearing the CBI’s plea seeking to prepone the date of hearing from October 24 in its appeal against the acquittal of all the accused.

Justice A K Chawla said the matter would be heard on the date already fixed and added that it would be expected of all the parties to join the hearing.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), submitted that early hearing was needed as the country was on the verge of facing a huge amount of arbitration under bilateral investment treaties.

The application was opposed by the counsel for the accused.

Govt should appeal in HC against 2G case acquittal: Swamy

Govt should appeal in HC against 2G case acquittal: Swamy
Govt should appeal in HC against 2G case acquittal: Swamy

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who was one of the petitioners on whose plea a CBI probe was ordered in 2G case, today said government should immediately appeal in the Delhi High Court against the acquittal.

Former Telecom Minister and DMK leader A Raja, his party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi were today acquitted by a special CBI court in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases.

“The government should appeal in the high court against acquittal of all the accused,” Swamy told PTI outside court premises.

Later, Swamy also tweeted that the government must prove its bonafides by filing an immediate appeal in the High Court.

In the tweets, he also made reference to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s DA case in which she along with her close aide Sasikala Natarajan was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court which was finally overruled this year by the Supreme Court.

“Congis and Allies celebrated JJ HC acquittal. Then in SC got deflated. Same will be here,” he said in the tweets.

( Source – PTI )

2G case: SC agrees to hear plea against disclosing whistleblower’s identity

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Prashant Bhushan’s plea urging the court to recall its order directing disclosure of the name of whistleblower who revealed details of visitors’ dairy at CBI chief’s official residence.

Prashant Bhushan, who had moved an application on behalf of NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation seeking withdrawal of SC’s prior order, tendered an unconditional apology for inability to reveal the name of the whistleblower.

The top court has sought the assistance of special public prosecutor Anand Grover in the case and said, “The view of SPP has to be considered as any order by us would have ramification in 2G cases.”

During the hearing, CBI director’s counsel made personal corruption allegations against Prashant Bhushan but the court refused to take it into account.

CBI director Ranjit sinha told the apex court that there had been no interference in any of the cases probed by the investigating agency.

Insisting on revealing the identity of whistleblower, Ranjit Sinha’s counsel said, “Identity of the mole must be disclosed before apex court hears the case further.”

2G Case: Shahid Balwa Wants to Depose as Witness

Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, one of the accused facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Tuesday told the court that he wanted to depose as a witness in the case to defend himself.

Balwa’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal told the special CBI court hearing the case that his client wanted to depose as a witness in the case in which recording statements of defence witnesses will commence July 1.

Central Bureau of Investigation counsel K.K. Goel did not object, saying to depose as witness to defend himself is Balwa’s right.

Balwa’s counsel told the court that he wanted to bring six witnesses in his defence and he would be one of them.

“Defence is my right. They (CBI) have produced 153 witnesses and I am only seeking to summon five to six witnesses in my defence,” said Aggarwal on behalf of his client.

Aggarwal added that co-accused, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, directors of Shahid Balwa, were seeking permission to examine a total of five witnesses only in their defence in the case.

Regarding former 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 client’s defence.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini reserved the order for Wednesday 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 trial.

The court had on Oct 22, 2011 framed charges against 14 accused and three companies under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code 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.

All the accused are out on bail.

2G money laundering case: Court grants bail to Dayalu Ammal

Dayalu AmmalA Delhi court today granted bail to DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, who along with others including former Telecom Minister A Raja, was chargesheeted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a 2G scam-related money laundering case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini allowed the bail plea of 83-year-old Ammal on a personal bond of Rs five lakh with two sureties of the like amount.

The court, however, dismissed the plea of Ammal seeking discharge in the case on the ground that she was not well and was suffering from unsoundness of mind.

It asked Ammal’s counsel to furnish the bail bond within two days.

The judge, who was also scheduled to pass the verdict on the bail pleas of other nine accused today, said that the order was not ready yet.

The court said it would pass the order at 2.30 PM today. On August 6, the court had deferred for today its order on the bail pleas of former Telecom Minister Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others who were chargesheeted by the ED in this case.

ED had chargesheeted 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine firms — in the case saying that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

Ammal was holding 60 per cent stake in Kalaignar TV while Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar were holding 20 per cent stake each, the agency had said.

The agency had also claimed that its probe into the case emanates from 2G spectrum allocation scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed offences under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, ED had named Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Ammal and P Amirtham as accused in the case.

During the arguments on the bail pleas, the ED had argued that the accused had committed the offence of money laundering punishable under the provisions of PMLA.

The defence counsel, however, had opposed the ED’s claims contending that the charge sheet filed by the probe agency was “contradictory” and the transfer of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV was a “prudent business transaction”.

On the ED’s allegation that the reverse trail of Rs 200 crore from Kalaignar TV to the DB group company commenced after Raja was summoned by the CBI in December 2010 for interrogation in the 2G scam case, the defence counsel had argued that most of the money given to the TV channel was refunded before it.

Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Agarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case in which the CBI had earlier filed charge sheets.

(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)

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: Court imposes Rs one lakh penalty on Shahid Balwa

Shahid BalwaA special court on Friday imposed a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh on Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, who had sought permission to withdraw answers given by him earlier to the court in the 2G scam case trial, while allowing his plea to record afresh his statement before it.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini, however, did not allow the contention of CBI to cancel bail of Mr. Balwa, an accused in the 2G case.

The court passed the order on Mr. Balwa’s plea seeking permission to withdraw his answers given earlier during his deposition.

CBI had argued in court that Mr. Balwa’s plea was nothing but a “sinister design” to take the court for a “ride”.

During the arguments, Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit had submitted that Mr. Balwa’s earlier contention that he had failed to understand the questions asked by the court under the provisions of CrPC was not an “inadvertent error” and it was a “smart and calculated” move.

He had also contended that it was a “breach of faith” reposed by the court on the accused and he must be fair to the court.

Mr. Balwa’s counsel, however, had submitted that it was only an inadvertent error and that nothing had been done deliberately.

On CBI’s contentions that bail granted earlier to Mr. Balwa may be cancelled, his lawyer had said it was not the case that his client has tampered with evidence or threatened any witness.

The counsel had also said that if the court feels that something wrong has been done, he was offering unconditional apology.

The CBI had earlier sought cancellation of the bail granted to Mr. Balwa, facing trial in the 2G case, saying his conduct requires reconsideration and recall of the relief given to him.

Mr. Balwa had faced the court’s ire when it observed that he “deserved” to be taken into custody for his misconduct.

He had filed a plea contending that he will “not raise any question of prejudice caused to him on grounds of non-understanding of any question asked by the court.

Mr. Balwa had said that during the recording of his statement, which was deferred by the judge, all questions were explained properly by the court.

He had apologised to the judge, saying he had not done anything intentionally. He had offered the apology after CBI had alleged that Mr. Balwa had deliberately stated that he had not understood the questions being asked by the court.

The stage for the recording of evidence of former Telecom Minister A Raja and 16 other co-accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, was set earlier when the court supplied a draft questionnaire to the accused containing 1,718 questions and running into 824 pages.

Besides Mr. Raja, Ms. Kanimozhi and Mr. Balwa, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr. Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

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

(Source: PTI)

2G case: ED opposes bail pleas of Raja, Kanimozhi

Raja, KanimozhiEnforcement 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.

(Source; PTI)