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)

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)

 

CBI witnesses under rivals’ influence: Khaitan

2gLoop Telecom promoter I P Khaitan, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today claimed before a special court that some of the CBI witnesses might have deposed against him under the influence from corporate rivals.

Deposing before special CBI judge O P Saini, he said that telecom sector is a competitive business and there was a possibility that some of the prosecution witnesses had deposed against him during the trial under influence from rival firms. He also told the court that he used to take every decision in Loop Telecom.

During the recording of statement, Khaitan alleged that clause 8 of unified access service licence, which according to the CBI was violated by the accused facing trial in the case, was misunderstood. Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with three firms Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Essar Group, which already had a stake as an existing telecom operator, created Loop Telecom as a “front company” to secure additional spectrum which was in contravention of then telecom policy. The probe agency had also alleged that after the issuance of letter of intents to Loop Telecom for 21 circles by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on January 10, 2008, licence fees was paid by the firm which was allegedly sourced from Essar Group.

During the day’s proceeding, the court also concluded the recording of statement Saraf. The stage for recording of statements of the accused was set earlier when the court had given a draft questionnaire having 645 questions each and running into 308 pages to them.

The court had framed charges against promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom for the offences under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC while the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only. All of them have denied the charges levelled by CBI in the case.

(Source: PTI)

Not committed any wrongdoing: Ravi Ruia to court

2gEssar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, facing trial in a case arising out of the investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today told a Delhi court that he had not committed any wrongdoing and many facts were not properly probed by CBI.

Deposing before Special CBI Judge O P Saini, Ruia alleged that the telecom business is highly competitive and some of the prosecution witnesses, who had recorded their statements before the court, might have been influenced by rival firms.

Ruia also claimed that clause 8 of unified access service licence (UASL), which according to CBI was violated by the accused facing trial in the case, was misunderstood and many of the facts were not appreciated during the probe. He also alleged that he had no knowledge of the day-to-day functioning of Loop Telecom Ltd, one of the accused firm in the case.

Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with three firms Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom had deliberately violated UASL guidelines by making “false and dishonest impression” before Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to get the 2G spectrum.

During the day’s proceedings, the court also concluded the recording of statements of Kiran Khaitan and Anshuman Ruia. Kiran Khaitan told the court that she was only a housewife and not aware of the functioning of Loop Telecom. She also said she was shocked that a case was made against her and told the judge that no prosecution witnesses had deposed against her in particular. The court also commenced the recording of the statement of I P Khaitan which will continue tomorrow.

(Source: PTI)

2G: Court notice to DoT, CBI

bbDec 16 (IANS) A special court hearing the 2G case Monday issued notice to the CBI and the department of telecommunications (DoT) on a plea filed by Loop Telecom Ltd seeking directions for referring the matter to the Lok Adalat.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge O.P. Saini issued notice to CBI and DoT and posted the matter for Feb 20, 2014.

Loop Telecom Limited filed a plea seeking the court’s direction for referring the matter to the Lok Adalat, a system of alternative dispute resolution that focuses on compromise between two parties, for “settlement”, saying the offences alleged against the firm were compoundable.

Loop and the Essar Group are facing charges of criminal conspiracy for cheating the department of telecommunications (DoT).

A third set of charges filed by the CBI in the 2G case alleged that promoters of the Essar Group were the real investors and beneficiaries of the spectrum and licenses issued to Loop Telecom, which was used as a front company by the Essar Group to acquire the 2G licenses and spectrum in 2008.

This has been denied by the accused.

(Source: IANS)

2G: Anil Ambani to appear in court as witness Thursday

Reliance TelecomA Delhi court Wednesday asked Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani to appear before it Thursday to depose as a prosecution witness in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge OP Saini dismissed the plea of Reliance Telecommunications Limited against the summoning of Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani as prosecution witnesses and said the “examination of Anil Ambani as a witness would not cause any prejudice to the accused facing trial in the case”.

The trial court had earlier postponed Anil Ambani’s examination. The court said that it will hear the arguments Thursday on Tina Ambani’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance.

The court had issued summons to Anil and Tina Ambani for recording their statements on Aug 22 and 23 respectively.

“The witness for tomorrow (Anil Ambani) has already been served and accommodation was granted to him earlier also when he was summoned for July 26. At that time also the accused (Reliance) has not stated that examination of these witnesses would cause prejudice to it,” the judge said.

“I see no reason as to how any prejudice would be caused to the accused if these witness are examined now.” The judge also said that no such prayer for postponement has been made by the Ambanis themselves.

(Source: IANS)

SC to hear Reliance’s plea in 2G case

Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging trial court’s order summoning Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani as prosecution witnesses in 2G spectrum allocation scam case.


A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, before whom the matter was mentioned for an urgent hearing, agreed to hear the case and posted it for July 24 before an “appropriate bench”.

RTL, facing trial in the case, moved the Supreme Court against the trial court’s order as the apex court had earlier restrained all other courts, including high court, from entertaining any plea arising out of 2G scam case.
The trial court had on July 19 allowed CBI’s plea that the testimony of Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani may throw light on alleged investment of over Rs 990 crore by his group companies in Swan Telecom, facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.


It had said CBI’s plea to summon Anil Ambani, Tina and 11 others as prosecution witnesses was essential for arriving at a just decision in the case.

Testimony of Anil and Tina is required to prove the facts “pertaining to incorporation of shell companies as some of the witnesses examined earlier have not been able to do so,” it had said.

The court had dismissed the contentions of the counsel for the accused persons that CBI’s plea “suffers from the vice of delay” saying the process of examination of prosecution witnesses is still underway.

RADAG’s Group company RTL is an accused in the case. Three top Reliance ADAG executives — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — are also facing trial in the case.

The agency had alleged RTL used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get 2G licenses and the costly radio waves.

(Source: IANS)

CBI for Anil & Tina Ambani as witness in 2G trial

Injecting a new element in the 2G spectrum allocation case trial, CBI Thursday asked a Delhi court to “summon” Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani as prosecution witnesses to “arrive at the truth” and for a “just decision” in the case.


CBI moved an application in the court saying Anil Ambani, his wife Tina and 15 other persons are required to be examined as witnesses in the case as “some new facts”, including some bank documents pertaining to money transaction of Rs 997 crore in October 2007 between DB Group Company and Reliance ADA Group companies, have surfaced.

RADAG’s Group company Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and Vinod Goenka, Managing Director of the DB Realty Ltd, are accused in the case.

CBI’s plea to call Anil Ambani as a witness assumes importance as three top Reliance ADAG executives– Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair– are facing trial in the case along with Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

The agency had alleged that RTL used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get 2G licenses and the costly radio waves.

Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit told the court that these witnesses are required to be summoned for recording of their statements to ascertain the truth.

After hearing Lalit’s arguments, Special CBI Judge O P Saini issued notices to all the 17 accused, including three firms RTL, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, seeking their responses on July 3 on the agency’s plea.

“Issue notices to the accused persons for July 3,” the judge said, adding he would decide on July 3 as to whether it would seek a reply from the accused on a separate CBI’s plea for recalling Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official Nitin Jain, who has been examined earlier, as a witness.

Seeking to summon Anil Ambani, the agency said that “being the head of Reliance ADA Group”, his testimony is necessary to the effect that who was responsible for incorporation of shell companies including Swan Telecom, facing trial in the case.


“He (Anil Ambani), being the head of Reliance ADA Group, his testimony is required to depose as to who was responsible for incorporation of shell companies including Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd, Zebra Consultants Pvt Ltd…. their inter-locking equity structures, corporate structuring of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, investments/divestments into/out of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd By Reliance Telecom Ltd, Reliance Communications Ltd, Vikata Engineering Services Pvt Ltd and other Reliance ADA Group companies….,” the agency said.

CBI, in its plea, said Anil Ambani’s testimony is required to know about “decision to apply for UAS licences on behalf of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, pursuing the process of applications with DoT, transfer of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd to the DB Group in October 2007.”

CBI’s plea to make Anil Ambani its witness came days after former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia supported the contention of the agency that Swan Telecom, which allegedly belonged to ADAG’s Reliance Communications, was “ineligible” for 2G spectrum.

Lalit told the court that CBI had recorded Anil Ambani’s statement under section 161 of the CrPC during the probe in the case but it was not placed before the court earlier as the Reliance ADAG Chairman was not arraigned as a prosecution witness in the case.

He sought the court’s permission to place Ambani’s statement before it today itself but the judge said he will deal with the issue after going through the reply filed by the accused.

Regarding Tina Ambani, CBI said that she was occupying an “important position” in the Reliance ADA Group and was “authorised to transact on behalf of Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd without any limit on value.”

It said Tina Ambani was a “director and chairman of multiple board meetings of ADAE Ventures Pvt Ltd and AAA Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, companies which have had multiple transactions with Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd.”

According to the CBI charge sheet, Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd, Zebra Consultants Pvt Ltd, ADAE Ventures Pvt Ltd and AAA Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd were associate companies of Reliance ADA Group.

Besides Anil and Tina Ambani, CBI has sought the court’s permission to summon Raj Pal, then advisor to TRAI, some bank officials and CFSL experts. Apart from them, CBI also named some persons, including the Company Secretary of Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd, officials of Reliance Energy Ltd.

The agency, in its application, said some documents, which were summoned from various entities after the court’s order, including statements of accounts from ICICI Bank Ltd, were received by them and “from the scrutiny of these statements of accounts, it was revealed that certain transactions took place on October 18-19, 2007.

“However, the supporting instruments/vouchers/documents, on the basis of which these transactions/entries were recorded could not be summoned as these transactions were unknown until the said documents were produced by ICICI Bank Ltd,” it said.

CBI told the court that summoning of these documents “are also essential to place the truth” before it and it would establish the true picture of the transactions reflected in the said statements of accounts.

“On the facts and circumstances of the present case, the exigencies of justice require that the discretion vested in this court is exercised and the prayer made by the prosecution is allowed,” CBI said adding they are conducting the trial with utmost sincerity.

CBI also moved a separate plea for recalling prosecution witness Nitin Jain, whose statement has already been recorded, saying there “appears to be slight inconsistency” in his testimony regarding the cut off date.

The agency had alleged in its charge sheet that the top officials of Reliance ADAG were also involved in day-to-day affairs of Swan and Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd.

Group MD of Reliance ADAG Gautam Doshi, group President Surendra Pipara and senior vice president Hari Nair, along with Reliance Telecom Ltd, have been charge sheeted for entering into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government by getting licenses in an illegal manner.

(Source:PTI)