SC notice to Unitech MD

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear CBI’s plea for cancellation of bail granted to Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech Ltd, in 2G case for allegedly trying to “sabotage the trial” and issued notice to him.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi granted two weeks time to Mr. Chandra to file his response on CBI’s petition alleging that he had misused the relief given to him by approaching the then CBI prosecutor A K Singh and trying to “materially interfere” with the prosecution in an “attempt to influence” the conduct and outcome of the trial.

The CBI has sought recall of the apex court’s November 23, 2011 order by which he was granted bail.

It has alleged that conduct of Mr. Chandra was questionable during the period of bail as he was found holding discussion with the prosecutor about crucial witnesses.

“It is apparent the freedom granted to accused by means of enlargement from custody has been misused by him and that allowing him to continue unabated will be detrimental to the conduct of this trial and to the greater public interest,” CBI has said in its application.

His conversation with the prosecutor, who was removed from the case, reflected that the entire strategy of CBI in dealing with the case was compromised, the agency has said.

The CBI said it had registered a Preliminary Enquiry report which named Chandra and prosecutor Singh.

The investigation also suggested that the conversation took place between the two when the statement of crucial witness A K Srivastava, Department of Telecom’s former Deputy Director General (AS) was being recorded in the court, it has said.

The agency has also stated that the CFSL report has also confirmed that the recorded conversation was neither tampered with nor any editing was done and it was the voice of Chandra and Singh.

(Source: IANS)

Court adjourns additional 2G spectrum allocation case

The special court hearing the matter in additional 2G spectrum allocation case, in which Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and others have been summoned as accused, on Monday fixed April 29 for hearing the matter.

Mittal, Ruia and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh appeared before Special CBI Judge O P Saini and the court adjourned the matter in pursuance of the order passed by the Supreme Court on April 18.

The apex court on April 18 had postponed the matter pending before the trial court till April 29 after Justice A R Dave had recused himself from hearing the case.

Earlier, apex court judge Justice Vikramajit Sen, who was part of a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, had also recused from hearing the petitions filed by Mittal and Ruia challenging the order of the trial court summoning them as accused in the case.

The Special CBI Judge on Monday marked the presence of Mittal, Ruia and Shyamal Ghosh and posted the matter for April 29, saying “in view of order dated April 18 of the Supreme Court, the matter is adjourned for April 29“.

The court extended the personal bonds, furnished by Mittal and Ruia on April 16, till the next date of hearing.

One of the accused, Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh, who was the then Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd, is yet to be served with the summons issued against him in the case.

The special court had on March 19 summoned Mittal, Ruia, who was then a Director in one of the accused companies Sterling Cellular Ltd and Asim Ghosh.

Their names were not mentioned in the charge sheet filed by CBI on December 21, last year, in the case.



SC order gives sound basis for government actions: Khurshid

Law Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday welcomed as “very important” the Supreme Court order on a presidential reference and said it gave a “sound basis” for the government’s policies on allocation of resources.

Responding to a presidential reference following the verdict on the 2G spectrum allocation, the Supreme Court Thursday said the auction route was not the only method for allocating natural resources.

“it gives a sound basis for us having done what we have done, and in light of the pronouncement if we have to make changes, we will do so,” Khurshid told NDTV.

Khurshid also said that he, along with Communications Minister Kapil Sibal and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, would “study the judgment and discuss the findings and take the matter forward”. They would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said.

He described the ruling given by the five-judge apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia as a “legal pronouncement of the highest order of the land on a reference made by the president”.

The bench said auction could be a better option where the aim is maximisation of revenue, but then “every method other than auction of natural resources cannot be shut down”.

2G Scam case: IT, CBDT to brief JPC on July 18

Top brass of the Finance Ministry and Income Tax department will brief the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the 2G spectrum allocation in 2G scam on July 18.

 The officials from the I-T and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will be led by Finance Secretary R S Gujral and are expected to brief the panel about the progress and status of investigations made in the case till now.

 The I-T would place on record the status of its assessment and tax evasion proceedings that it has conducted so far against various telecom firms and individuals involved in the case.

 The department is also expected to brief the JPC members about the directions it has got from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in this case and the steps initiated subsequently.

 The I-T department, which has till now detected over Rs 1,500 crore of tax irregularities during its probe in the 2G Scam case, has found that the telecom companies involved in spectrum allocation had sold their controlling stakes to foreign firms through foreign shores after allotment of the spectrum.

 It had also issued notices to various firms asking them to pay tax on the capital gains from such transactions which include a Rs 80 crore tax notice to a real estate development firm under the transfer pricing clause.

 The joint team of I-T and CBDT officials have briefed the JPC twice earlier.

 Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had briefed the panel about the progress of its probe in the 2G Scam case.

Government responsible for 2G mess, didn’t listen: Behura (Lead)

The government is responsible for the 2G “mess”, jailed former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura said Wednesday, accusing the powers that be of not listening when he raised an objection.

“The entire government is responsible for the mess. My client raised the objection publicly and the government didn’t listen to him. He was bound to follow policies made by the government…he did his work as a public servant to implement policies of the government. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Behura’s counsel Aman Lekhi told CBI special judge O.P. Saini.

Behura began his arguments in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court by opposing the framing of charges against him in the 2G spectrum case.

“If any minister does not agree with the decision taken by the council of ministers then the only choice left with the minister is to either resign or accept the majority decision,” his counsel said.

“A civil servant cannot oppose the decision, since at that point of time he will be accused of being a face of a political party,” Lekhi told the court.”Behura had no choice but to implement policy. Let down by the government, where will he go,” asked his counsel.

Behura’s statement on the government came a day after former communications minister A. Raja dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram into the imbroglio for the second time.

The counsel also raised questions on the role of Manju Madhwan, then member secretary (finance) telecom commission, and Dinesh Mathur, who was telecom secretary before Behura.

“Manju Madhwan was a part of the conspiracy as she did not place objections in the policy which was discussed on Dec 4, 2007. She kept quiet and did not object when she could have done that…..while Mathur also defended the policy on the same date and did not oppose it,” Lekhi said.

He also asked how people who could be conspirators were made witnesses.The counsel said, “If people who played a vital role are made witnesses then how can Behura be made an accused…..he should be a witness too.”

Behura was arrested Feb 2 for alleged involvement in the 2G scam. In the chargesheet filed April 2, he is accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct by a public servant.

Raja had Tuesday asked why Manmohan Singh had not constituted a group of ministers (GoM) for 2G spectrum allocation and said Chidambaram should be called as a witness in the case. A day earlier his lawyer said the spectrum transactions were approved by Chidambaram, who was then finance minister, in the presence of the prime minister.

Can Swamy’s complaint be tagged with your FIR, CBI asked

A special court Monday directed Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its response on whether Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s private complaint in the 2G spectrum allocation case could be combined with the agency’s FIR.

CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini said: ‘CBI should file its response by May 4.’

Swamy had been asked whether he wants his complaint to be ‘tagged’ with CBI’s FIR and he said he had no problem.

‘The scope of my application (private complaint) overlaps with the CBI case, but in some cases, its ambit is wider than that of the CBI’s FIR,’ Swamy told the court.

He also sought to be given a ‘status’ in the case.

In his response, CBI counsel A.K. Singh said that they need at least two weeks’ time to respond on the issue.

Swamy, who heads the Janata Party, told the court that he is also willing to assist the CBI and Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit, who has been appointed by the Supreme Court as a prosecutor in this case.

Swamy’s private complaint on 2G spectrum allocation had been transferred to the special court set up at the instance of the Supreme Court to try all cases related to the scam.

The complaint was heard in the court of Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah, who marked the file to District Judge Pratibha Rani after the last hearing March 17. Rani, in turn, asked Swamy to appear before Saini.

Swamy’s 375-page complaint, seeking prosecution of former communications minister A. Raja, and Swamy’s appointment as public prosecutor under Section 5(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was filed on Dec 15, 2010 and the court had Jan 7 termed it as ‘maintainable’.